Do You Know Where to Put These Apostrophes in These Sentences?

EDUCATION

By: Ruby Scalera

7 Min Quiz

Image: pinstock/E+/Getty Images

About This Quiz

"It's" versus "its" is one of the most common challenges that even the most advanced English speakers face, and there are many other challenges just like it. Whether you're deciding on contractions versus possessives or trying to write a date correctly, it's vital to know where the apostrophe goes so that you can get your meaning across to your readers. They show up in just about every part of speech and often in many different ways that can make it challenging to know what is their proper use.

From high school papers to full-length books, from journalist articles to important cover letters that might help you get a job, apostrophes serve many purposes, and it's crucial to know how to use them correctly. Even if you're communicating with friends or family, proper use of apostrophes can make written conversations clearer, help you to come across as more professional, and inspire your readers to trust you. This means better grades, job offers, and the respect you deserve.

Do you think you have what it takes to beat this English grammar quiz? Put your apostrophe knowledge to the test, and see just how much you know about the English language. And don't forget to challenge your friends when you're done. 

Where does the apostrophe go in this sentence?

In the it's vs. its question, it's stands for 'it is', as in 'It is time for bed'. While it's tempting to add an apostrophe to make the word possessive, as with proper nouns, that changes the meaning of the sentence.

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How should you use an apostrophe when writing dates?

An apostrophe stands in for a number or letter. In this case, the apostrophe is a replacement for 19 in 1990s. A common pitfall here is to place the apostrophe between the "0" and the "s," but it doesn't belong there.

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How would you tell your mother that your brothers are across the room?

The apostrophe in "they're" stands in for the letter 'a' so it becomes "they are." Their is possessive, and in this case, "there" refers to the location. This is a commonly confused word in English.

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Which of these sentences is written correctly?

A common apostrophe mistake is to use it for pluralizing nouns, as in the first two options. Apostrophes aren't used to pluralize, but they are used to show possession, as in "our store's" because it refers to the store's apples, bananas, and pears.

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Which of these is not a contraction formed by an apostrophe in proper English?

Contractions are combinations of two other words (or more). Sometimes they require apostrophes — such as turning "do not" into "don't" — and sometimes they don't. In this case, "can not" would be "can't," not "cann't."

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Which of these possessive pronouns is written correctly?

Pronouns don't have apostrophes unless they're contractions. For example, "it's" as a stand-in for "it is." Possessive pronouns do not have apostrophes, only names do, though it is a common mistake.

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How would you refer to the individual cars that Jack and Jill drive?

When two (or more) individual subjects own their individual possessions, then each of them will have an apostrophe. This is specific to instances where the subjects have their own possessions. The rules of possession change when things are shared.

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How would you refer to the house that Jack and Jill share?

If the two individuals own something separately, there should be an apostrophe after each name. If they share the object of the sentence, however (the house, in the example above), the apostrophe will only be after the last name, no matter how many are listed.

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How would you tell a student to write the number 9 three times?

Apostrophes either stand in for words or numbers or they make proper now possessive. Since nothing is missing from "9s" and it is not a proper noun, there is no reason for an apostrophe in the sentence.

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Which of these sentences is written correctly?

The apostrophes in the original contractions — could have -> could've, should have -> should've, would have -> would've — remain, but since they are plural, they simply need the 's' added at the end. The last answer appears correct but would turn the sentence into a list of could have is, should have is, and would have is, which doesn't make grammatical sense.

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Where does the apostrophe go in the following sentence?

When indicating the plurality of a letter, whether or not it is italicized, an apostrophe is used for readability and formatting. In this case, the apostrophe does not stand in for a letter or number and does not indicate proper noun possession.

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Which of the following is an example of a "greengrocer's apostrophe"?

The greengrocer's apostrophe is named such because it often appears in handwritten signs, like the kind you'd find in a local shop. In this case, because the 's' in taxis is merely there to indicate plurality, the apostrophe is not necessary.

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Which of the following is a properly formed contraction?

In this example, the apostrophe stands in for the letter i. When unfolded, the sentence is "the dog is in the backyard." The word backyard does not require an apostrophe, and when an apostrophe is added after a pluralized word, it refers to the plural subject's possession.

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How would you answer the question, "Who has the dog's ball?"

When referring to the subject's possession, there is no apostrophe in the world "its." A good rule of thumb would be that if you can replace 'it' with "he" or "she," then you don't need an apostrophe.

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Which of the following sentences is written correctly?

Oftentimes, random apostrophes will appear where the author simply means to make a possessive noun. "Dad's" should be "dads," unless it is referring to "dad is" or dad's possession. "Flower's" should be "flowers" and "wildcat's" should be "wildcats," as they refer to in these sentences.

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How would you rewrite this sentence" "Jamies birthdays in a few days at her and Jills house"?

There are a lot of pitfalls in this question. The first apostrophe is for Jamie's possession; she is possessing her birthday. The second is a stand-in for the letter "I," eg: "birthday is." Remember, when two objects share the subject, the possession only goes with the last object, in this case, Jill. Also, pronouns do not get apostrophes.

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How would you make possessive a plural noun that ends in "s"?

There are a few schools of thought when it comes to possessive plural nouns, but if you're following classic English rules, you want to place the apostrophe after the "s" to indicate that the noun is both plural and possessive.

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Which of the following sentences has the apostrophe in the right place?

The first "it's" in the sentence stands for "it is," and the apostrophe stands in for the letter "i" where the second "its" is possessive and needs no apostrophe. This is one of the most common mistakes in English.

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An apostrophe should not be used to:

Apostrophes are often mistakenly used to pluralize nouns. They do, however, replace missing letters, show possession, and even help writers to format letters. Knowing how to properly use them can improve communication and enhance storytelling.

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Select the correctly written sentence.

The "you're" in this sentence stands for "you are." If it were possessive, it would be "your." Minutes does not have an apostrophe because it is just plural, not plural and possessive.

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Which is the proper which to ask the following question?

Whose and who's are commonly confused, but "who's" breaks apart into "who is?" The possessive of who is "whose." Their is in reference to "them," not a location. Many of these rules of grammar break other rules of grammar.

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How would you format the acronyms in the sentence below?

Acronyms and apostrophes can get a little sticky, but according to the official rules of grammar, you don't use apostrophes in acronyms that don't have periods. It's a good idea to check when you are unsure, however.

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Which of the following sentences is written correctly?

This sentence may be a little unwieldy, but it's technically correct. "Whose" is possessive, as in "Who does the party belong to?" and party's unfolded to "party is" so you have "whose party is." There are cleaner ways to write this sentence, however.

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How many apostrophes should be in the following sentence? Robbies trip to Boston was the chance to see great museums, eat the citys best food, and visit historical locations from all the way back to the 1600s.

This sentences needs two apostrophes. Robbies should be Robbie's and citys should be city's. A common mistake would be to add an apostrophe to 1600s, but remember that dates only use apostrophes when they are 1) standing in for the first two digits of the year or 2) referring to that date's possession.

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Which of the following sentences is written correctly?

It's tempting to put an apostrophe in the plural word "brothers," but it's not necessary. The only word in this sentence that needs an apostrophe is "I've," which stands for "I have."

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Which of these sentences with commonly misplaced apostrophes is correctly written?

It's/Its, Your/You're, and They're/Their/There are the words that appear most commonly with misplaced apostrophes — and this was a triple header. In the correct example. "It's" stands for "it is," "your" is possessive, and "they're" stands for "they are."

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Where does the apostrophe go in the following sentence? "Shes sure the watch is hers."

When a proper noun is possessive, you will need an apostrophe. For instance, if the sentence was, "She's sure the watch is Sally's," there would be an apostrophe. However, pronouns like hers or his do not require them in order to be possessive.

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Which of the following sentences is properly written?

You didn't fall for it! Many of the common apostrophe pitfalls and mistakes show up in this sentence, but 1990s, CDs, and teens are all written properly in this sentence without them.

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How many apostrophes does this sentence need? You shouldve seen us. Weve never danced like that. Its like the 60s all over again.

This sentence needs four apostrophes: Should've, we've, it's, '60s. The first three are contractions, where the apostrophe stands in for have, have, and is, and in the last one, the apostrophe stands in for the 19 in 1960s.

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How many extra apostrophes are in this following sentence? I wen't down to the market and I'had to buy six bags of grape's, four banana's, three apple's, and Jackie's favorite juice. It's time we get a grocery store around here.

"Wen't" should be "went," "I'had" should be "I had," and "grape's, banana's, and apple's," should be "grapes, bananas, and apples." Jackie's is possessive, so that is correct, and "it's" stands for "it is."

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Where does the apostrophe go in the following sentence? "Dad loves his 67 Chevrolet Corvette."

In this example, the apostrophe stands in for the 19 in 1967. The only other time that apostrophes are used in dates is when the date is possessive. For example, 1967's Best Car.

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Which sentence correctly uses each their, they're and there?

In order: They're --> they are, their --> possessive, there --> location. These are some of the most commonly mistaken words in the English language, and it's important to know how to use them right. Practice helps!

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Which of the following sentences properly uses both forms of its?

The first "it's" stands for "it is" and the second "its" is possessive, so the last answer is correct. This mistake shows up often, and it's easy to see why. Just keep practicing to get it right!

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Which of the following sentences properly uses both your/you're.

This one was tricky on the surface! In fact, all of the your/you're options were possessive except for the very first, which stood for "you are," as in "you are" home from school. They're easy to mix up!

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Which of the following sentences is written correctly?

There are lots of things to keep in mind in this one! In order, "you've" for "you have," "it's" for "it is," "don't" for "do not," and "your" because it's possessive. Remember, the best way to learn grammar is to practice! Read and write often, and have fun!

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