What Are Apostrophes? (with Examples)

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What Are Apostrophes? (with Examples)

An apostrophe (') is a punctuation mark used to replace a missing letter(s), to show the possessive form of a noun, or to show an awkward plural.

Below is a quick overview of when apostrophes are used. Click here for a more comprehensive version of this list or click on the "Read more" link with each entry.

When to Use Apostrophes (A Very Quick Overview)

Below is a quick overview on when to use apostrophes.

(1) Use an apostrophe to replace missing letters.
  • can't
  • (The apostrophe replaces no in cannot.)
  • isn't
  • (The apostrophe replaces o in is not.)
  • don't
  • (The apostrophe replaces o in do not.)
The shortened words are known as contractions. Do not make up your own contractions.

Read more about apostrophes to replace missing letters.

(2) Use an apostrophe to create the possessive form of a noun.
  • The fire fighters' code
  • The women's hat
  • The dog's dinner
  • (one dog, one dinner)
  • The dogs' dinners
  • (several dogs, several dinners)
  • The dogs' dinner
  • (several dogs, one dinner)