The context of the sentence (all ten jack-o-lanterns) makes clear the fact that more than one pumpkin is rotting away. Remembering Jane Straus | May 18, 1954—February 25, 2011 | Author of the original Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation. (She wears size 2, and he wears size 12. So do a lot of proper nouns (Mr. Jones, Texas, Christmas). Bill Gates is close, but even he hasn’t taken over everything yet. Looking back in history doesn’t help settle the matter either, as the correct use of the apostrophe has always been ambiguous. Here’s the bottom line: To show possession by one owner, add an apostrophe and the letter s to the owner: the dragon’s burnt tooth (the burnt tooth belongs to the dragon), Lulu’s pierced tooth (the pierced tooth belongs to Lulu), Another way to think about this rule is to see whether the word of expresses what you’re trying to say. Incorrect: I voted in ‘08. Rule 2d. If you're the guest of the Ford family—the Fords—you're the Fords' guest (Ford + s + apostrophe). Why can’t all grammar rules be this simple?) “Drinking Fountain” vs. “Water Fountain” vs. “Bubbler”: Are They Synonyms? (He has his; she has her own; both sets are polished and quite long.). The “of test” works for plurals too. Past and Past Participles of Common Irregular English Verbs, How to Interpret a Correlation Coefficient r, How to Translate a Website with Google Translate. ), geese’s missing teeth (No teeth belong to the geese, because as of course you know, birds have beaks instead. To date, no changes have been made, but as you can see, it’s an ever-evolving, highly volatile topic. Rule 1: In general, you form a possessive singular noun (both proper and common) by adding an apostrophe and the letter S to the end of the word. Check out these examples: teeth’s cavities (The cavities belong to the teeth. In sentence A, pumpkins has no apostrophe, though it clearly shows possession. In these punctuation worksheets, students write the possessive form of singular nouns by adding an apostrophe and an "s" to the noun. The plural of Hastings is Hastingses. Incorrect: Mine and Maribel's home There are two new MPs on the base. Single-digit numbers are usually spelled out, but when they aren't, you are just as likely to see 2s and 3s as 2's and 3's. Such a situation arises mostly when you’re talking about time. OR She consulted with three M.D.'s. Correct: The Wilsons are here. Discover The Origins Of These Cooking Tool Names. The plurals of most English nouns — anything greater than one — already end with the letter s. To show ownership, all you do is add an apostrophe after the s. Take a look at these examples: ten gerbils’ tiny teeth (the tiny teeth belong to ten gerbils), many dinosaurs’ petrified teeth (the petrified teeth belong to a herd of dinosaurs), a thousand sword swallowers’ sliced teeth (the sliced teeth belong to a thousand sword swallowers). Use the apostrophe to show possession. Hillary and Bill Clinton’s daughter (Chelsea claims both of them as her parents. (Actually, he needs false teeth and a nose job, but the year’s gum work is a start.). Incorrect: three company's policies. ), Cedric’s and Lola’s fingernails. The word apostrophe first appeared around 1580–90, stemming from the Greek word apostrophḗ, meaning “a turning away,” which makes sense as it was first used in English to represent missing letters in a word. If two people own something together, as a couple, use only one apostrophe. Once it started to be used to show ownership, however, there was never any consensus as to how it should be done properly, and we live with that legacy today. Texas' weather. Rule 3. Care must be taken to place the apostrophe outside the word in question. Most writers don’t have trouble with the possessive pronouns my, mine, his, her, and our. Correct: ’Twas the night before Christmas. Answer: Sentence B is correct. With the of method, you note, the sharp tooth of the crocodile = the crocodile’s sharp tooth, the peanut-stained tooth of the elephant = the elephant’s peanut-stained tooth. Correct: Whose glasses are these? Most would call them the "Hastings." Incorrect: Maribel and my home Incorrect: three days leave Until apostrophes disappear from English altogether, you can take one step toward apostrophe reform by perfecting the art of showing possession. In sentence C, the apostrophe is placed before the s, showing a single pumpkin. Some write M.D. Sign up to receive the FREE weekly GrammarBook.com E-Newsletter. Incorrect: ‘Twas the night before Christmas. Rule 10. Where Did The Strange Expression “Hair Of The Dog” Come From? Once it started to be used to show ownership, however, there was never any consensus as to how it should be done properly, and we live with that legacy today. A. Lulu told Lola that Lochness needs a years work on his gum disease. ), Eggworthy’s and Ratrug’s attitudes towards dieting. When you’re talking about time, give your sentence the “of test.” If it passes, insert an apostrophe. The word. Regular nouns are nouns that form their plurals by adding either the letter s or es (guy, guys; letter, … Correct: Apostrophes are confusing. Incorrect: We've had many happy Christmas's. There are various approaches to plurals for abbreviations, single letters, and numerals. To show ownership for an irregular plural, add an apostrophe and then the letter s (teeth’s). Incorrect: Apostrophe's are confusing. Cedric carved all ten jack-o-lanterns, and he can’t bear to throw them away. The homes belong to both of them. You may find it helpful to write out the entire irregular plural noun before adding an apostrophe or an apostrophe + s. Incorrect: two childrens' hats To show possession in French, for example, you say. Correct: Maribel's and my home, Incorrect: he and Maribel's home ), children’s erupting teeth (The erupting teeth belong to the children. Take a look at these same phrases — with the same meaning — using apostrophes: All of these phrases include nouns that express ownership. Not all writers agree; some see no problem with dos and don'ts. If the compound noun (e.g., brother-in-law) is to be made plural, form the plural first (brothers-in-law), and then use the apostrophe + s. Rule 4a. You still need to deal with plural owners. Incorrect: Talking to one's self in public is odd. Most experts suggest you form the plural form of the word first, then add the apostrophe. He learned his ABCs. Rule 1b. There are different schools of thought about years and decades. Cedric carved all ten jack-o-lanterns, and he can’t bear to throw them away. “a turning away,” which makes sense as it was first used in English to represent missing letters in a word. In sentence B, pumpkins’ expresses a plural possessive. Rule 9.