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The rules concerning the use of apostrophes in written English are very simple:

1. They are used to denote a missing letter or letters, for example:

2. They are used to denote possession, for example:

This applies to all nouns, so the correct versions are Jesus's disciples, Keats's poems and so on.

Please note that “Its”, which is usually used as a possessive adjective (like “our”, “his” etc), does not take an apostrophe:

... however, if there are two or more dogs, companies or Joneses in our example, the apostrophe comes after the 's':

3. Apostrophes are NEVER ever used to denote plurals!  Common examples of such abuse (all seen in real life!) are:


Note: Special care must be taken over the use of “your” and “you're” as they sound the same but are used quite differently:

The Correct Use of the
Apostrophe in English

On our Examples pages you will see pictures of real-life apostrophe abuse, many of which have been submitted by visitors to this site.

We accept submissions on the understanding that there are no copyright limitations. Go to the Main Examples page to see how to send yours to us. Please ensure photo file sizes are no larger than 250Kb - we no longer accept camera originals - and are in jpg format.  Images, which may be cropped and further reduced in size by us, are uploaded in batches from time to time. Whenever possible, names and phone numbers in the photos submitted will be made unidentifiable. Sorry, but no credits or acknowledgements can be given.

Please place written examples of misuse of the apostrophe you have seen on our very popular Message Forum for discussion. Contributors to this Forum willingly help others with correct apostrophe use and there is also a section for Other English Language Problems.


For general enquiries about the Apostrophe Protection Society, please contact its Chairman by Email by clicking: chairman@apostrophe.org.uk