In short, you add an apostrophe before an ‘s’ to show possession. What does all this mean? We’ll do this step by step.
What is a plural word?
The plural of a word refers to more than one.
Correct Our neighbors have three dogs.
Incorrect Our neighbor’s have three dogs.
The apostrophe is seldom used to form a plural noun.
There are some rare exceptions to the rule for certain abbreviations, letters or words.
She received two B’s and three C’s in her report card.
Make sure to dot your I’s and cross your t’s.
We hired three new M.D.’s.
What is a possessive noun?
A possessive noun is a noun that has something. Most possessive nouns are formed by adding an apostrophe and an s to the noun.
In the following sentence, the girl owns a pencil, so it’s the girl’s pencil.
Correct The girl’s pencil snapped in half.
Incorrect The girls pencil snapped in half.
Apostrophes in plural words
Most plural nouns already end in s, such as dogs, pens, spoons, tables.
In this case, to indicate possession, we add an apostrophe after the s.
Correct The boys’ baseball team won the tournament.
Incorrect The boys baseball team won the tournament.
In cases where the plural noun does not end in s, we add apostrophe and s to the end of the plural word.
Correct The children’s mother likes to play soccer with them.
Incorrect The childrens’ mother likes to play soccer with them.
Incorrect The childrens mother likes to play soccer with them.
Possessive nouns vs. plural nouns worksheets
In our grade 3 grammar section, we have a set of worksheets for students to practice the use of apostrophes in sentences.