Apostrophes are used to demonstrate ownership and clarify exactly who “owns” what.
Apostrophe Plus S
- The cat’s meow woke him in the middle of the night.
- The knight’s horse stumbled just as they approached the dragon.
- The centerpiece of Miss Hunnicutt’s hat was a live chicken.
- The prince’s horse lost its shoe.
- He lifted the box’s lid, and the toy soldier fell out.
- The quiz’s answers were all scrambled.
- The soldiers all stood up straight for appearance’s sake.
- The ox’s pace was too slow to keep up with the horse.
- Nobody can find the princess’ saxophone.
- He was the toughest army corps’ sergeant.
- Nobody could find the actress’ slipper.
- Would you please shine Andres’ shoes?
Plural nouns not ending in “s”
- The men’s mustaches were all different.
- Mother spent three hours picking up the children’s toys.
- Pioneers stuff their quilts with their geese’s feathers.
- Lucy spent a week sewing the women’s dresses.
- The cat sat next to the traps with the mice’s cheese.
- It doesn’t take long to fill three cats’ litter box.
- Don’t go up there near the snakes’ den.
- The horses’ saddles all needed to be dusted after the drive on the dirt road.
- Ladies’ dresses are not as common in my closet.
Plural names ending in “s,” “z,” or soft “ch”
If we refer to the entire family by their last name, we would add “es” to indicate more than one person. Adding apostrophe plus “s” makes three “es” sounds in a row. (I would recommend against naming your characters with such names!)
Some of these sound better than others. There is no hard-and-fast rule. Again, be consistent.
The Joneses’ daughter
The Lopezes’ history
The Churches’ hot air balloon
The Joneses’s daughter
The Lopezes’s history
The Churches’s hot air balloon
Plural owners of the same object
- Joe and Martina’s wedding took place in the woods behind the church.
- (Joe and Martina are married)
- Tammy and Sally’s brother loved to tease them.
- (Tammy and Sally are sisters)
Plural owners of the same object, one of them a pronoun
- Martina and his wedding took place in the woods behind the church.
- (He and Martina are married)
- Michael and her brother loved to tease them.
- (Michael and she share a brother)
Plural owners of different objects
- Joe’s and Martina’s weddings were held on separate days.
- (not to each other)
- Tammy’s and Sally’s brothers are both named Joseph.
- (not sisters, they do not have the same brothers)