Grammar: "s" apostrophe or apostrophe "s" ?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by Shaun.P, Nov 30, 2010.

  1. Shaun.P, Nov 30, 2010
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2010

    Shaun.P macrumors 68000

    Shaun.P

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    #1
    Hi there,

    I'm finding it difficult to pick when to use 's and s'.

    I researched it online and it seems that you only use 's or s' when you are noting possession of something (or you mean "it is"), and you use s' when the possession is of something that is plural?

    Anyway, I have an essay that I've written and I've been trying to properly ascertain if my grammar is correct. I was wondering if some of you could kindly offer me some help.

    The development plan is of the school (possession) and there is only one school so should it be school's?

    The questioning belongs to the teacher, and there is only one teacher.

    The learning of the students (possession) and it is ALL of the students (plural).

    I'm not sure about this one. It was the teachers who interviewed so is there possession or is this not the case because this is past tense? Is it teachers' because there are a group of them or just teachers because there is no possession?

    The homework belongs to the others. Since "others" is more than one (plural) so is would be others'?




    I am finding these concepts really difficult to grasp so some clarification of the above examples would be fantastic.

    I'm a student maths teacher and grammar isn't my best area although I do try to use correct grammar when possible.


    Thank you.
     
  2. simsaladimbamba

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    #2
    school's


    teacher's


    students'


    teachers as there is no possession.


    others', as it indicates a possession.

    Though I'm not 100% sure, as grammar is not my first language, though I hate the use of plural apostrophes and can somehow spot misplaced apostrophes, though that may only apply to my mother tongue.
     
  3. sysiphus macrumors 6502a

    sysiphus

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    #3
    First one: this is possessive; you want "school's"
    Second: possessive again; teacher's
    Third: if it is students (plural) possessive, then you want students'
    Fourth: leave it as it is. With that said, realize that "their" is unclear, and could be referencing either the students or the teachers.
    Last: Pretty sure you want "other's", may be mistaken on this one.

    To be clear, I'm am American, so if you're in a country/region where British spelling/grammar conventions are used, my input may be wrong/useless.
     
  4. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #4
    Yes. Otherwise you're talking about multiple schools and that sentence wouldn't really work.

    Yeah, you need the ' in there.

    That's correct.

    No ' in there. They don't possess anything. If it was teachers' kids.... then there would be.

    This is harder. Each is singular so I would put it other's. If there was no each, then it would be others'.

    I hope someone can confirm this since I'm not a native speaker but I think genitive is something I really know :)
     
  5. aristobrat macrumors G5

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    #5
    Although I'm sure there are some exceptions to that rule, you seem to have it correct.

    apostrophe denotes possession (well, not for "it is", but in general) :)
    's = singular
    s' = plural
     
  6. dXTC, Nov 30, 2010
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2010

    dXTC macrumors 68020

    dXTC

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    #6
    On "each other", you definitely want other's, as "each other" is considered singular. "Everyone" and "everything" are also considered singular, but in both cases the 's is rather obvious.

    The converse tends to happen when "each" is left out. Example:

    The group was surveyed, and my opinion differed greatly from others' opinions.

    ----
     
  7. Rodimus Prime macrumors G4

    Rodimus Prime

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    #7
    I find it simple first put the word in as if it was not being need an 's or s'.
    If it ends in an "s" then it is s' other wise you add 's.
    That has been my general rule. Now I am not sure I use it correctly when I have to use my first and name and need to that since my last name ends in an 's'
     
  8. Shaun.P thread starter macrumors 68000

    Shaun.P

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    #8
    Thank you for all the help guys!

    One more!

    .

    We are talking about the engagement of the pupils. Is there possession?
     
  9. Melrose Suspended

    Melrose

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    #9


    Yes. Because it's a contraction - written in full words it would be: However I was surprised to see that pupil was engaged in this task...
     
  10. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #10
    It should be "I was surprised to see that the pupils engaged in this task" with no apostrophe. There is no possession or contraction here.
     
  11. Shaun.P thread starter macrumors 68000

    Shaun.P

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    #11
    Thanks again for all your help.

    I can't remember ever being taught this at school!
     
  12. Melrose Suspended

    Melrose

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    #12
    Ah well, sometimes I talk like that. Hence, why I tendered my explanation. Thanks for the correction.
     
  13. Gregg2 macrumors 603

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  14. bradl macrumors 68040

    bradl

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    #14
    And unless you're joking, you just hit a pet peeve of mine, and my mother's (English teacher/high school principal).

    If the subject ends in an s, you only add the apostrophe at the end. No other letters needed. No s'es, nor is it pronounced.

    So you should have "I think Rodimus' answer is right."

    /pet peeve

    BL.
     
  15. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #15
    I hope you're very happy together, but no, it wasn't. :)
     
  16. coochiekuta macrumors 6502

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    #16
    i dont know what this thread is about because i havent read it but i commonly type in shorthand or is it short hand? either way, you will find me using its for both "it is" aka it's as well as the possessive. shorthand doesnt always work for me. for example, were. i cant very well use were for "we're" because these are very different.

    some will call me lazy. others will say im a pig. i will leave you to make that decision.
     
  17. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #17
    I think that's fairly clear...
     
  18. iJohnHenry macrumors P6

    iJohnHenry

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    #18
    As is the attempt to boost the post count. ;)
     
  19. gnasher729, Dec 4, 2010
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2010

    gnasher729 macrumors P6

    gnasher729

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    #19
    When in doubt, you can first change the sentence slightly and use "of" instead of the genitive:

    In one class I asked pupils to mark the homework of each other.
    My opinion differed greatly from the opinion of others.

    That makes it clear that you should write:

    In one class I asked pupils to mark each other's homework.
    My opinion differed greatly from others' opinion.


    You said it, not me. But consider that many people here are not native English speakers, and improper English makes it hard for them to read and understand what you mean, and it may even make them copy your mistakes. As an example, the "Dictionary" application says:

    im-
    prefix
    variant spelling of in- 1 , in- 2 assimilated before b, m, p (as in imbibe, immure, impart).

    IM
    verb ( IM's, IM'd, IM'ing) [ trans. ]
    send a message to (someone) by using an instant messaging system: : I was being IM'd by a tireless horde of hot-blooded all-American testosterone-crazed males.

    So what does this "im" mean in "others will say im a pig"?

    Can you ask your mother what to do if Maurice or Denise is right, or Descartes?
    How do you write "The colour of the debris was brown" using the genitive?
     
  20. bradl macrumors 68040

    bradl

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    #20
    That would be Maurice's or Denise's problem.
    Descartes' problem is one we've never seen before. The debris' colour from his accident is brown.

    For example. Keep in mind, that I am speaking in terms of American English, not the Queen's English. Punctuation (and spelling) for the Queen's English is another story.

    BL.
     
  21. potentpotable macrumors regular

    potentpotable

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    #21
    If you type casually with no regard for punctuation, then it's fine.

    But formally, "it's" refers to a contraction of "it is" and "its" is possessive. This is a VERY common mistake, given that a regular noun would always add an apostrophe in a possessive phrase.

    e.g.
    The dog's ball —> ball belongs to dog.
    It's cold outside —> It is cold outside.
    The machine has a hammer. Its hammer is strong. —> possessive
    It's possible for its hammer to break.
     
  22. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #22
    I was taught so that when talking about people, you must use the ' (e.g. "Mr. Williams' cars", not "The cars of Mr. Williams"). When not talking about any person(s), then you should use the of genitive (e.g. "The apples of the tree", not "Tree's apples"). So in OP's case, he should use the ' because he is talking about people.

    I don't know is this wrong or right but that's how I've been taught. In the end, people will likely understand you no matter do you use the of or '. Could be American vs British thing too, I was taught British English mainly.
     

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