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Mastering the Mechanics: Apostrophes

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Mastering the Mechanics: Apostrophes

Last updated 5/31/2016


Visual: Walden University Writing Center logo is visible at the bottom of the screen along with a notepad and pencil background. “Walden University Writing Center. Your writing, grammar, and APA experts” appears in center of screen. Slide changes to background of dictionary page. A green text box appears which reads: "Mastering the Mechanics: Apostrophes."

Audio: Guitar music plays.


Visual: Slide changes to a blue, brown, and grey slide titled "Apostrophes."

A large purple apostrophe image is in the upper right corner of the slide. Below the title there are two bullet points with examples that read:

  • "Singular possessive: Ericksons (2005) study involves…
  • Plural possessive: The researchers methods were sound."

Below this is a text box which reads: "Tip: No need for apostrophes to make a noun, year, or abbreviation plural." There are then two examples below:

  • "Incorrect: Many questionable fashion trends, such as crop top’s, emerged in the 1980’s.
  • Correct:  Many questionable fashion trends, such as crop tops, emerged in the 1980s."

Audio: Apostrophes. Basically, apostrophes show possession. For example, "Erickson's study", this study belongs to Erickson. Erickson conducted this study, so I need to use an apostrophe "s."


Visual: ’s in Erickson’s is highlighted.

Audio: They can also be used for a plural possessive. By that I mean that, something belongs to more than one person. "The researchers' methods were sound." If I'm talking about more than one researcher, then this word needs to be both pleural, and needs to include an "s", and it needs to be possessive.


Visual: Highlight appears in the second example, highlighting researchers’ and the apostrophe after the “s” in that example.

Audio: So the apostrophe actually goes after the "s" instead of before. If I were to put an apostrophe before the "s" I would just be talking about one single researcher. Little tip down here, you don't need an apostrophe to make a date plural. So I very often will see students say things like "the 1980's", or "the 1950's", or the you know, "the 1800's" or something like that and include an apostrophe before the "s".


Visual: 1980’s in textbox is highlighted.

Audio: That's not necessary because the dates are plural, but they're not possessive. In other words, you're not saying anything belongs to those years so you don't need an apostrophe. And you don't need an apostrophe either to make a word plural. "Crop tops" here.


Visual: “crop top’s” is highlighted.

Audio: I'm not saying anything belongs to the crop top, so I don't need an apostrophe.


Visual: Slide changes to notebook and pencil with Walden logo from first slide. Text reads: “Walden University Writing Center. Questions? E-mail"