The Mighty Apostrophe

How many a's in appaloosa? How many appaloosas are Mrs. G's?

Turtles vs. Appaloosas

While the word appaloosas is much more fun to type, when a kid dressed as a zombie replies "I like turtles" in response to a question about his outfit, turtles get the win from me. Check out the video on youtube. Wait, the link will not work at school? Why do school districts block all videos on youtube? Are the people in charge afraid of students learning about turtles? Especially when kids could find out all sorts of interesting facts like the temperature of the nest determines the gender of each of the babies. Surely not.

Stop. Aren't we supposed to be learning about apostrophes and not about turtles' qualities? Why doesn't the previous paragraph contain any apostrophes and why is this paragraph full of 'em? Did you know a turtle's shell is just like your fingernail and that a turtle can feel it if you push on its shell?

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Apostrophes can show a letter is missing, called contractions

I'm good with the apostrophes in aren't, doesn't, 'em, and I'm as those show a letter or two is missing and contractions are easy, but I get confused between turtles in paragraph 1 and turtle's and turtles' in paragraph 2. Don't even get me started with its!

Apostrophes can show possession - the tricky part involves an s.

The word turtles doesn't need an apostrophe if it is just showing that there are many turtles or that some kid dressed as a zombie throws out the non-sequitur that he loves turtles. It is a different story if we are learning all about all of the turtles in the world and their qualities, because those turtles own those qualities. The turtles' qualities.

If you have many of something (a plural noun) and all those things own something else, stick an apostrophe on the end.

Turtles' qualities

Appaloosas' tails

However, if you have a plural word that doesn't end in s, you have to add both an apostrophe AND an s to make everything sound right.

People's fear

Children's imaginations

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But what if that turtle is all alone? WHAT ABOUT BOB!! If the word is singular, add 's.

Bob's alligator seems to be missing.

Want to learn more about why the strange word a's appears at the top? Want to take a silly quiz or two?

Go to Mrs G's Grammar Resources page to strengthen your skills so that we can all say,

"____your name___'s skills are amazing!"

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