English is a strange, strange language. And when you are Indian and speak three other languages, it’s even worse. Many people I know get their apostrophes wrong. So once and for all, this is how you use them!
When a letter is missing you substitute it with an apostrophe:
I don’t care for apostrophes.
This isn’t what I was looking for.
It’s a sunny morning.
When you substitute for the word “is”:
My shirt’s stained.
Ray’s a funny, funny man.
When you hint possession:
You’re sitting in my dog’s chair.
These were her grandfather’s shoes.
When you hint possession of plural nouns that end with an “s”:
The girls’ dinner should be ready soon.
The phones’ batteries need to be replaced.
When do you not use an apostrophe?
When you hint possession, but with a possessive pronoun:
The box is theirs.
Ours is not a constructive strategy.
Isn’t this purse hers?
When you use plurals!
I follow a large number of blogs.
Would you like apples or oranges?
What happens to apostrophes when you use abbreviations or years?
Err, I’m really not sure about this one! People are divided on this and I haven’t decided what my take is yet.
Any English pundits know what to do?
Image courtesy – Flickr