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Apostrophe facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Typographic apostrophe
  '  
Typewriter apostrophe
Punctuation
apostrophe   '
brackets [ ]  ( )  { }  ⟨ ⟩
colon :
comma ,  ،  
dash ‒  –  —  ―
ellipsis   ...  . . .      
exclamation mark  !
full stop, period .
guillemets ‹ ›  « »
hyphen
hyphen-minus -
question mark  ?
quotation marks ‘ ’  “ ”  ' '  " "
semicolon ;
slash, stroke, solidus /    
Word dividers
interpunct ·
space     
General typography
ampersand &
asterisk *
at sign @
backslash \
basis point
bullet
caret ^
dagger † ‡ ⹋
degree °
ditto mark ” 〃
equals sign =
inverted exclamation mark ¡
inverted question mark ¿
komejirushi, kome, reference mark
multiplication sign ×
number sign, pound, hash #
numero sign
obelus ÷
ordinal indicator º ª
percent, per mil  % ‰
pilcrow
plus, minus + −
plus-minus, minus-plus ± ∓
prime     
section sign §
tilde ~
underscore, understrike _
vertical bar, pipe, broken bar |    ¦
Intellectual property
copyright ©
copyleft 🄯
sound-recording copyright
registered trademark ®
service mark
trademark
Currency
currency sign ¤

؋ ​₳ ​ ฿ ​ ​ ₵ ​¢ ​₢ ​ $ ​₫ ​₯ ​֏ ​ ₠ ​ ​ ƒ ​₣ ​ ₲ ​ ₴ ​ ₭ ​ ₺ ​₾ ​ ​ ₧ ​₱ ​₰ ​£ ​ 元 圆 圓 ​៛ ​₽ ​₹ ₨ ​ ₪ ​ ​₸ ​₮ ​ ₩ ​ ¥ ​

Uncommon typography
asterism
fleuron, hedera
index, fist
interrobang
irony punctuation
lozenge
tie
Related
In other scripts
  • Chinese
  • Hebrew
  • Japanese
  • Korean
  • Category
  • Book
Greengrocer's apostrophe correction
A sign pointing to taxis at Leeds railway station, England, with the extraneous apostrophe crossed out by an unknown copy editor

The apostrophe () is a punctuation mark used in writing. It is a diacritic (a mark used with letters).

In English, it has two jobs:

Examples

Its versus it's

The most common grammatical mistake in written English is to put it's where its is correct. Its: a possessive adjective and pronoun of the personal pronoun it.

  • The cat chased its tail. Correct.
  • The tyre lost it's grip. Wrong.

It's: a contraction of the verbal phrase It is or It has.

  • It's mine. Correct; check: It is mine.
  • It's been here. Correct; check: It has been here.
  • The cat chased it's tail. Wrong; cannot be expanded to It is.

The same applies to yours, theirs and ours because these are also possessive adjectives of personal pronouns.

  • The colour is ours.
  • That book is hers (or his).
  • Theirs was the responsibility.

Possession

Apostropes are also used to show something belongs to someone (or something). Again, correct uses can be expanded:

  • Mike's car. Correct: the car that belongs to Mike.
  • The dog's ball. Correct: the ball that belongs to the dog.
  • Those dog's are large. Wrong: cannot be expanded. Here "dogs" is a plural word.

The intrusive apostrophe

Comes in plurals which don't (do not) need it. Do not put an apostrophe in word ending in s, such as a plural. Put an apostrophe, or 's, at the end of the word instead.

  • Mrs. Jones' hat or Mrs. Jones's hat. Both correct.
  • Both of my parents' birthdays. Correct.
  • CD's and DVD's: wrong
  • Apple's and pear's: wrong

Writing dialogue or titles

Apostrophes are also used when other words are shortened, as in slang:

  • Go get 'em tiger! or Li'l Bow Bow.

This is just a version of the abbreviation function.

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