A Guide to Using Apostrophes Correctly Part 2

Photo on Flickr by mag3737

In the last article, we talked about apostrophes and the ways that they could alter meaning. To read back what was said, click on the article title: A Guide to Using Apostrophes Correctly Part 1.

The other main way that apostrophes are used is when two words are contracted to form a new word.




These are just some of the words that are in use. Their full forms are as follows:

Don’t = do not

Won’t = will not

Can’t = can not which is also sometimes written as one word – cannot

Here are some of the more unusual ones:




These should be

Could’ve = could have

Should’ve =should have

Would’ve = would have

Unfortunately the contractions sound like ‘of’ and you see a lot of younger students (and older people as well) writing ‘should of’ instead of ‘should’ve’. This is a really common mistake and one to watch out for in your own writing.

The apostrophe in this case is there to indicate that there are missing letters. It therefore is placed where the missing letters would be in the word.

For example: when writing ‘don’t’ the apostrophe replaces the ‘o’ of ‘do not’. This helps you to decide where to put the apostrophe.

As long as you know where the letters have been omitted then you will always find it easy to know where to place the apostrophe.

Photo Credit : Photo on Flickr by Mag3737


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