If you're seeing this message, it means we're having trouble loading external resources on our website.

If you're behind a web filter, please make sure that the domains *.kastatic.org and *.kasandbox.org are unblocked.

Main content
Current time:0:00Total duration:4:50

Video transcript

hello grammarians hello Paige hi David hello ' today we're going to start talking about a different piece of punctuation and that piece of punctuation is the apostrophe kind of looks like a comma but it's one that floats in the air here's the ground here's the word ground and if we say I don't know Paige's dog Addie we're using the apostrophe not shown to scale obviously in one of its three different applications so the apostrophe can do three things thing number one it can stand in for missing letters so when an apostrophe stands in for missing letters that's called a contraction so what is that what does that look like what is a contraction look like in context so another way to say something like I did not eat the cookie is to say I didn't eat the cookie so that that that apostrophe there represents the Oh being taken out and kind of everything being squished together into this new word didn't so did not gets together and then we attach this apostrophe to show that we've contracted or shortened or shrunk these two words right page join me on screen number two and let's talk about thing number two let's go sure so the second thing that an apostrophe can do is show that something belongs to someone's what we call possession so you can use an apostrophe to say something like that's David's cursive skull okay it's true it's been in my family for generations but what what is what's going on here what is what is this doing the same work as so the sentence basically means that curseth skull belongs to David this first sentence that's David's curse at skull is kind of just an easier way to say that so apostrophes can show contraction much like we're also doing in this part of the sentence as well with that's because this is this is a shorter version of that is David's curse at skull but we're condensing that or contracting that into that's but it's also being used for its second purpose here which is David's and this is what we call the possessive or the genitive case saying that this Kherson skull belongs to me Paige what what's the third use of apostrophes it's pretty rare the third use does not happen very often but apostrophes can occasionally be used to make words plural okay because I was always taught never to use apostrophes to pluralize stuff like the plural of book is books not books that's what's wrong yeah so there's no this is the plural and this is like something belonging to the book right the books pages blood yeah right so those there's really only one case where you want to use an apostrophe to make something plural what is that case that case is when you're trying to make the plural of a lowercase letter like I'm really bad at drawing asses right if you didn't have that apostrophe there it might kind of just look like so I could say for example I'm you know I like to draw J's and remember to dot your J's and eyes like that to denote that they're plural to indicate that there's some kind of separation between this lowercase letter in this lowercase letter and that we're trying to say that there are multiple J's and eyes right and especially with something like like eyes if you didn't have that apostrophe there it would probably just look like you're trying to write the word is sure so this is kind of a workaround exactly but this is not so this usage is extremely rare that's why I put it in parenthesis because I just I really want to de-emphasize this last usage super rare so more importantly the first two things are the most important number one contractions making stuff shorter like I did not eat the cookie too I didn't eat the cookie and possession showing ownership so instead of saying that person skull belongs to David you would say that is David's cursed skull exactly and that's an overview of the three powers of the apostrophe you can learn anything David out page out