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How to Use 's and s' Correctly

by eHow Contributor, Demand Media

    Don't feel bad if you have trouble figuring out where to place an apostrophe. This punctuation mark is used to show possession or to replace missing letters. While people often struggle with grammar rules involving apostrophes, you can learn a few simple guidelines that will help you use an apostrophe with confidence.

    Step 1

    Add an apostrophe followed by the letter "s" to show possession. For example, if Jeremy has a computer, use "Jeremy's computer."

    Step 2

    Add just an apostrophe if you're referring to someone who has a name ending in "s." For example, write "Miles' television broke yesterday."

    Step 3

    Add just an apostrophe to show possession with plural words that end in "s." For instance, you would write "Can you tell me where the girls' bathroom is?" because the bathroom belongs to the girls.

    Step 4

    Use "it's" as a contraction of "it is." For instance, write "It's almost Friday." Write "its" -- without the apostrophe -- to show possession; for example, use "My wireless mouse doesn't work. Its batteries died."

    Step 5

    Don't use an apostrophe when you're referring to a whole family. For example, "Alice sent a Christmas card to the Smiths." However, if you want to write about something belonging to the members of a family, you'd write "The Smiths' house needs painting."

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    About the Author

    This article was created by a professional writer and edited by experienced copy editors, both qualified members of the Demand Media Studios community. All articles go through an editorial process that includes subject matter guidelines, plagiarism review, fact-checking, and other steps in an effort to provide reliable information.

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