🏁 Be careful about where you put the apostrophe if something belongs to more than one person or thing.
It will usually go after the ‘s’ that shows us we mean more than one, e.g. It was the girls’ first night out together.
Here are some more quick examples:
The girls’ phones all had cases.
All the bees’ honey was collected in the hive.
The English bowlers’ attack got on top of the Australian cricketers.
📲 💻You can use this link to a Google Form so you can test you’ve got it.
🔆 If you’re okay with it now, go to Skill 18.
🛠 Need more?
🎯 📝 (1) Try these exercises, putting in the apostrophe where it should go (they are all plurals):
The teachers staffroom was often full of people.
The horses horseshoes hung on the blacksmith’s walls.
All the footballers boots were set out in the changing room.
The houses gardens were small.
All the teacher’s classes books had been marked.
The teachers’ staffroom was often full of people.
The horses’ horseshoes hung on the blacksmith’s walls.
All the footballers’ boots were set out in the changing room.
The houses’ gardens were small.
All the teacher’s classes’ books had been marked.
Some words are already plurals though, like ‘children’ and ‘people.’ These have their possessive apostrophe put before the ‘s’:
It was a children’s party.
The British nation’s flag is the Union Jack.
The team’s kit was dirty.
The Scottish men’s kilts were tartan.
The main ones to learn are children and people as they’re the most common in use and give the most issues.
Some people also get plural words ending -ies wrong, like babies and ladies. Just remember not to break up the ending to these words, and put the apostrophe after the last ‘s’, like these:
The babies’ prams were all the same colour.
The Ladies’ Night at the club featured lots of singers and karaoke.
All the families’ luggage was loaded on the ship.
🎯 📝 Here’s another exercise to see if you’ve got the -ies plural words one. Rewrite the following with the apostrophe in the right place:
Most of the stories endings were always the same.
The fairies wings were transparent.
All the universities students complained about their fees.
The spies secrets had all been stolen in the burglaries.
Most of the stories’ endings were always the same.
The fairies’ wings were transparent.
All the universities’ students complained about their fees.
The spies’ secrets had all been stolen in the burglaries.
🎯 💻 Want to try another test? There’s a good one here to check you get the differences between using the apostrophe for singular or plural people or things (best on laptops or tablets as on phones you have to enlarge each answer box):
🚦Time for more?
This skill causes lots of issues. As with singular apostrophes, you have to ask yourself what belongs to who, but you have to be really careful about how many people or things are part of the ‘who.’ If it’s more than one, then you have to be more careful where you put the apostrophe and think about it a bit first.
🎯 💻 If you have Flash Player on your device, there’s a summary of the differences between singular and plural possessive apostrophes here. It’s aimed at younger children but is still very useful:
Although there’s a lot to remember about apostrophes, your writing will be a lot clearer, and accurate, when you know what you’re doing, and why! There are more apostrophes tests on a special page at the end of this section if you want to be doubly sure you get it all.