The Grocer’s Apostrophe
If the use of apostrophes has you scratching your head, you’ve come to the right place.
First, let’s start this subtraction problem with some simple addition. There are three situations when you do need an apostrophe:
- Omission. To indicate that one or more letters are missing. For example: “Doesn’t” instead of “does not,” “hasn’t” instead of “has not.”
- Possession. To indicate that something belongs to somebody (loosely, since it could be a somebody that belongs to something). For example: ProofreadNOW.com’s amazing proofreaders, the U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt’s crew, the dog’s enormous nose.
- Plurality. To indicate the plural of letters or figures. For example: Mind your p’s and q’s. Plot those x’s and y’s. On the contrary: There were no ifs or buts. Beware the dos and don’ts. In letter puzzles, s’s are used more than other consonants and e’s are featured more than other vowels. As noted elsewhere on our site, some people do not consider the third use as correct.*)