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The apostrophe has three main purposes. It is used to form most possessives, to create plural forms, and to indicate the omission of letters and digits in numbers.

  1. An apostrophe is used to denote the possessive form of nouns and indefinite pronouns.

    • Children's entertainment
    • Graham's bicycle
    • Anyone's belief
    • The boys' scoutmaster
    • The Browns' car
    • Arkansas's governor
    • The girl's sweater

  2. Apostrophes are sometimes used to form plurals of words, letters, numerals, abbreviations, and symbols referred to as words.

    • Dot your i's
    • Three 6's or three 6s
    • Two c's in acceleration
    • A group of B-52's

  3. Apostrophes indicate the omissions of letters and digits in numbers. The letters may have been omitted due to the contraction of a single word or two or more words, or to a desire to imitate informal speech.

    • Wasn't
    • can't
    • don't
    • I'd prefer to
    • They're
    • She'd rather
    • He's had it
    • Ass'n
    • Dep't
    • the spirit of '76
    • the class of 2006
    • during the 60's
    • they were singin'
    • Ma'am
    • sou'wester

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