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10.15: Lesson Thirty-nine

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Other Uses for Apostrophes

1. We use apostrophes in words other than contractions. We also use them in the suffix that shows possession: -’s. Look at these two sentences:

He stepped on the dog's tail.

He stepped on the tail of the dog.

The two sentences say the same thing. They both say that someone stepped on the tail that belonged to, or was part of, the dog. The suffix -’s is used to show that something belongs to, or is possessed by, or is part of, someone or something else, and -’s is called the possessive suffix.

2. Most of the time we show possession by adding -’s to a singular noun. Add -’s to each word in the “Noun” column and write the possessive noun in the blank in the 'Sentence' column:

Noun Sentence
dog He stepped on the dog's tail.
gnat She was no bigger than a ______ eyelash.
knight The ______ horse was very tired.
funnel He tried pouring water into the ______ big end.
cinnamon She does not like ______ taste.
dictionary The ______ cover was red.
candidate The ______ speech was very inspiring.
dinner They could hardly wait for the ______ end.
immigrant The ______ name was Antonio.
island The ______ beaches were all white sand.
knife They both tried to grab the ______ handle.
columnist The ______ work was very good.
autumn They both looked forward to ______ arrival.
chemical She said that the ______ smell was very bad.
children The ______ laughter led us to the playground.
candle The ______ light was too dim for reading.

2. When we show possession in a plural noun that ends in <\text{s}>, we usually just add an apostrophe with no extra <\text{s}>. A plural noun that shows possession is called a plural possessive noun. In the ‘Plural Nouns’ column write the plural form of the noun given in the ‘Singular Noun’ column. Then form the plural possessive and fill in the blank in the sentence, as we have done with the first one:

Singular Nouns Plural Nouns Sentences with Plural Possessive Nouns
dog dogs They stepped on both dog's tails.
lamb We couldn't find the two ___ mothers
diamond The three ______ price was amazing
thumb Both of his ______ joints were swollen
campaign His two ______ total cost was very high
bunny The three ______ eyes were bright pink.
poem She disliked all of his _____ rhythms.
statement The two ______ meaning was not clear
element The chemical ______ names confused him.
teammate The ______ shouts filled the locker room
knee Both ______ strength had not yet returned.
hymn I don't know any of the ___ titles.

3. Each of the following sentences requires either a singular or a plural possessive noun. For each sentence decide whether it takes a singular or a plural possessive and then add the proper form in the blank:

Singular Noun Sentence
dog Both dog's owners were very upset.
lamb One ______ leg was injured.
child We could hear all three ______ laughter.
knife All of our ______ blades are rusty and dull.
dictionary Both ______ bindings were broken.
autumn ______ colors were beautiful this year.
chemical The seven ______ smells were very strange.
columnist Both ______ writing was very good.

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1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5

Date Created:

Feb 23, 2012

Last Modified:

Apr 29, 2014
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