• Mark Collier

Apostrophes – What am I doing here’?

Hello! My name is April Apostrophe and I’m here to tell you all about me. Look! I’ve appeared two times already – do you know why? I’ll tell you – WOW! – here I am again. So far, in this very exciting blog post all about me, I am being helpful by showing you that something is missing from the words I’m, I’ve and I’ll. What’s missing (oh, there I am again)? I will tell you. It is part of the words, am, have and will. I’m is another way of writing I am, I’ve is another way of writing I have, and I’ll is another way of writing I will. Usually you only use this way of writing if you are using direct speech, such as:

“Hello, I’m an apostrophe,” said April.

When I’m being used in this way it is called a contraction. That means that something is missing from the word, which is going to be a letter or a group of letters that make up the whole word. Let’s (hello again) look at a few more examples:

  • She’ll is short for she will (here I’m being the wi)

  • They’ve is short for they have (now I’m being the ha – funny eh!)

  • We’re is short for we are (can you tell which letter I am being here?)

Can you think of more examples? There are lots.

Now, before we look at my other job (I like to be busy), let’s take a moment to watch out for two times when I have to work extra hard in contractions. When I am in you’re it’s tricky! There you go, both examples in one sentence. Sometimes people use me in you’re when they mean your – if you mean you are then use me (as in you’re joking!), but if you mean your (as in your socks are smelly) then leave me out – I won’t feel upset, honestly!

Now for it’s – if you mean it is or it has then please use me, as I am helping you to make a contraction, but if you mean its (as in I had a puppy and its paws were dirty) then leave me out. Unfortunately for me its is even more tricky because in this example the word its is being used to show that the paws belong to the puppy: this is called a possessive.

Usually when you want to show that something belongs to someone you should use me, for example – The baby’s toy fell out of the pushchair. When I am being used in this way I am called a possessive apostrophe. When I do this job I go after the noun (the name of something), but there are three things to remember:

  1. If the noun is the name of just one thing (singular), like a cow, then I appear like this – cow’s. Let me show you in a sentence – The cow’s milk tastes lovely. Here I am telling you that the milk belongs to just one cow.

  2. If the noun is the name of more than one thing (plural), like pigs, then I look like this – pigs’. Here I am in a sentence – The pigs’ field was muddy. Now I am telling you that the field belongs to more than one pig.

  3. If the noun belongs to a group of things (collective noun) then I look like this – children’s. Here I am in a sentence with a collective noun – The children’s party was fantastic. Here I am showing you that the party belonged to all the children.

Before I go please let me remind you of one very important thing – I never show you that a noun is a plural. So if you put me in the word horse’s then use it in this sentence – The horse’s galloped across the meadow – then I feel very upset because I am not telling you that anything belongs to the horses, they are just galloping!

So, goodbye for now, I’m looking forward to meeting you again in lots of contractions and possessions.

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