While most of the rules regarding apostrophes are pretty straightforward, there are some situations related to apostrophes that seem to give a lot of people a lot of trouble. Here are some helpful tips:
- It’s is a contraction for it is. If you need to make it possessive, as in its creepy eyes, you shouldn’t use an apostrophe. Because of the contraction, the possessive its goes against the normal rules.
- Sometimes, you’ll see writers use an apostrophe when referring to decades like the 1980’s. However, it’s standard now to write the 1980s without the apostrophe.
- To make a compound word such as mother-in-law possessive, just add an ’s to the last word. Here is an example:
My mother-in-law’s weekly phone calls make me really nervous.
- If you need to show joint possession, only the last word should be made possessive, as illustrated in this example:
Alex and Megan’s zombie-proof fence is certainly admirable.
Watch this video of the grammar professor, as she helps her student understand how to use apostrophes correctly.