How to Use the Apostrophe

We use the apostrophe in two cases: 

1. When we want to show possession. Eg. The cat belongs to Jack. This is Jack's cat.

Confusion arises when the proper noun that is possessive ends with an 's'. Do we write-

(a) This is James' cat. or (b) This is James's cat.

It turns out, both are acceptable. However, if there are multiple Jameses, the apostrophe has to be placed at the end.

Eg. Both Jameses' cats have nine lives. Not - Both Jameses's cats have nine lives.

2. When we are writing short forms (contractions)

Eg. Will not = Won't/ Until = 'till/ I am = I'm/ Let's = Let us/ It's = It is/ It has

Be extra careful about the correct usage of it's and its. To show possession of the pronoun "it", we do not use an apostrophe.

Eg. The cat scratched its own owner. Not - The cat scratched it's own owner.

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“The habit of writing for my eye is good practice. It loosens the ligaments.”  ~ Virginia Woolf