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Apostrophe use | Worked example

David works through an apostrophe use question from the Praxis Core Writing test.

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Video transcript

- [Instructor] Since ancient Egyptian religion emphasized continuity between this world and an afterlife, the pharaoh's tombs were outfitted with food, furniture, and all else needed for their comfort in eternity. All right, so we've got these five underlines here, so this is an error ID question. It's on us to figure out what kind of error it is. So answer A, continuity between. When I see a construction like this where there's a preposition like between and a noun like continuity, sometimes there'll be a verb, usually it's a test of whether or not you're using the preposition correctly in context. So we've got between this world and an afterlife. We generally use between when we're deciding between two things, so this is being used correctly. I'm gonna cross it off. This is not our answer. The pharaoh's tombs were outfitted with food, furniture, and all else needed for their comfort in eternity. So I wanna flag tombs and the plural pronoun their. On its own, tombs, a little suspicious. Multiple tombs, seems weird to say that one pharaoh is being buried in multiple tombs, but what do I know about ancient Egypt? That could be true. But it's really the pronoun their that doesn't agree with pharaoh's that lets me know that this is an apostrophe question, an apostrophe use question, because apostrophes can do two things. Number one, they can form contractions, shortening a phrase like I will into I'll, or they can demonstrate possession, as in Jake's dog or the robots' switches. Now, what's going on in this underline is singular possession, right? It's the single word pharaoh apostrophe S. Singular noun. However, this one pharaoh has multiple tombs. That's plural. And this is a plural pronoun. So we're seeing a number mismatch, right? This is singular when it should be plural. Now, you don't need to know how to fix this error in order to complete this question, but if we were to do that, we would simply strike this apostrophe and put it here after the S. As you can see, we've got here in this example the robots' switches. It's R-O-B-O-T-S apostrophe, right, because there are multiple robots, they have multiple switches, which would be distinct from a single robot with multiple switches, and that's what it would be if the apostrophe was before the S instead of after it. We're referring to multiple pharaohs. They have multiple tombs. We are concerned for their collective comfort. So this is our answer. And that's really all we need to know, but let's go through the other answer choices just to see what else is being tested. And all else needed. So this is another conventional expression question. All else means the same thing as everything else. That's all that's going on in that underline. I'm gonna cross that off. That's not an error. Needed. Technically a participial adjective, and it is modifying all else, right? So that is a correct and conventional use of an adjective. So that's fine. Cross that off. Finally, no error. Well, we know that there is in fact an error, hello, so let's cross off no error, confident in our knowledge that this is an apostrophe question and we have solved it.