Pasadena City College, Home of the PCC Lancers

WAC/Health Sciences

Frequently Made Mistakes in Grammar and Mechanics


Apostrophes are used with nouns to indicate possession or to make contractions.

  • Contractions are made when you use an apostrophe to combine a noun and a verb.
    • For example:   I am = I’m
      • He or she is = he’s or she’s
      • They are = they’re
      • We have = we’ve
      • I will = I’ll
      • I would = I’d
  • Possessions show that something belongs to someone. 
    • Add ’s to the end of a singular noun to make it possessive even if the word ends in s.
      • For example:  John’s car = the car that belongs to John.
      • James’s house = the house that belongs to James.
    • Add ’s to the end of a plural noun that does not end in s.
      • For example:  The children’s books = the books that belong to the children.
      • The women’s suitcases = the suitcases that belong to the women.
    • Add s’ to the end of a plural noun that ends in s.
      • For example:  The trucks’ engines = the many engines that belong to many trucks.
    • Add ’s to the end of compound nouns.
      • For example:  The sister-in-law’s television = the television that belongs to the sister-in-law.

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