Type to search

How to Use Apostrophes

How to Use Apostrophes

  1. Use double quotation marks for speech and quotations.
  2. Be consistent in your use of single quotation marks/apostrophe


Effective and accurate communication is an enviable skill that is often neglected by the general populous. Honing your writing skills is a sure way to get ahead both professionally and educationally. There are many books that focus entirely on developing your grammar and punctuation skills. Here would be a great place to start:
The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation

How to Use Apostrophes

The use of apostrophes can be particularly difficult to gain a grasp of. There are fixed rules, however there is also room for personal preference when using as quotations. The below guide should provide you with a template.

Photo Credit: Designlazy.com


1- Use double quotation marks for speech and quotations. As you will occasionally be interchanging between single and double quotation marks, it’s a good idea to have a defined use of double quotations before you move on to singles. The double quotation (“) suggests a direct quotation from an outside source or from speech. They should enclose the quotation. 

The Economist magazine suggested that “the Euro is beginning to weaken”.

“I’m pretty sure I’ve got this right” said William.

2- Use of single quotation marks/apostrophes for ownership, abbreviations and ‘turns of phrase’. The single quotation mark or apostrophe (‘) has many uses.

The single quotation mark can be used within a quotation to specify a quotation within a quotation, or when ironically referring to, or colloquially phrasing, a word or group of words within a specific context. 

John said, “Chris ensured me that, ‘he was the best player by far'”

Janine had been crying for hours, her ‘strong’ will had become irritating

Use the apostrophe to indicate possession. There is a difference between using an apostrophe with singular or plural nouns. A singular noun will use ‘s, whereas the plural version of that singular noun will use s’. 

The rat’s face was fat.

In the cages, the rats’ food needed replacing.

Be aware of nouns that are already plural, such as women. In this case, should the object or objects belong to the women, it would be women’s. Note that some pronouns already indicate possession such as his or hers. Their, as a predicate adjective, become theirs. 

Apostrophes should not be used to plural a singular i.e. the plural of ball would be balls, not ball’s.

Apostrophes are also used to contract two words together, for example you are, becomes you’re.


Be consistent with your use of quotation marks- rules here are looser than apostrophes used for other punctuation means, however you should adopt a fixed style an stick to it.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *