Difference Between Apostrophe s and s Apostrophe (With Table)

It is needless to say that learning a language takes immense dedication and an eye for detail. But English is a language that confuses even the most fluent speaker. Have you ever wondered whether the apostrophe comes before ‘s’ or after? That’s a confusion that is more common than the common cold.

Apostrophe s vs s Apostrophe

The difference between Apostrophe s and s Apostrophe is that while the former is used when we wish to convey an individual’s possession of a certain thing or quality as against the latter’s usage, which is to convey that the possession of a thing or quality not by an individual but by more than one person.

Apostrophe s is used in the context of a possessive now where it demonstrates the person’s ownership over a certain thing or quality. For instance, Rita’s dogs were out all night. This shows that Rita is an individual who owns dogs, and they were out all night. Its usage is fairly simple.

S Apostrophe is used in the form of a possessive noun to convey ownership as well, but it differs from the former in a crucial aspect. It is used when the possession or ownership of something or quality by more than one person is to be conveyed. For instance, the cats’ feed was on their plates.

Comparison Table Between Apostrophe s and s Apostrophe

Parameters of ComparisonApostrophe ss Apostrophe
UsageIt is when to convey an individual’s possession of a certain thing or quality.It is used to convey that the possession of a thing or quality is by more than one person.
Compound PossessiveIf two nouns are acting separately the apostrophe has to be placed after each noun.There is no scope for it here.
S/SSIt has no applicability here.When the name of a person or a noun ends in ‘s’ this should be used to give clarity.
ExceptionsIn the case of an irregular plural noun, this should be used.There are no exceptions in this regard.
ExampleSonya’s house is grand and beautiful.The Smiths’ have a party at their place tonight. Thomas’ books were stolen right before his exams.

What is Apostrophe s?

Placing an apostrophe can be a little tricky at times, especially while figuring out whether it has to be placed before the ‘s’ or after it. An apostrophe s is used in the context of a possessive now where it demonstrates the person’s ownership over a certain thing or quality. For instance, Rita’s dogs were out all night. This shows that Rita is an individual who owns dogs, and they were out all night. Its usage is fairly simple.

Using an apostrophe before ‘s’ is so simple that this shouldn’t confuse one at all. What should be our subject of focus is whether the noun in question is singular or plural. If the noun is singular, then the apostrophe will be before ‘s’.

There is common confusion about whether an apostrophe can be used before ‘s’ if a person’s name ends in S. This is hotly debated because some sources state that it is not mandatory to use an apostrophe before ‘s’ in this case, and the apostrophe should be used after ‘s’. For instance, Thomas’ father is throwing a birthday party for him. In this case, the apostrophe can either be used after ‘s’ or before it.

What is s Apostrophe?

The usage of this is not a little but immensely tricky. S Apostrophe is used in the form of a possessive noun to convey ownership as well, but it differs from the former in a crucial aspect. It is used when the possession or ownership of something or quality by more than one person is to be conveyed. For instance, the cats’ feed was on their plates. There is a rule that has to be followed in cases of plural nouns. If the noun plural form is irregular, then the apostrophe has to be used after the ‘s’ if this noun ends in s too.

Compound Possessives also play a crucial role in determining the position of an apostrophe. It is pertinent to note that in this regard, the apostrophe is always placed before the ‘s’ instead of after it.

There is common confusion about whether an apostrophe can be used before ‘s’ if a person’s name ends in S. This is hotly debated because some sources state that it is not mandatory to use an apostrophe before ‘s’ in this case, and the apostrophe should be used after ‘s’. For instance, Thomas’ father is throwing a birthday party for him. In this case, the apostrophe can either be used after ‘s’ or before it.

Main Differences Between Apostrophe s and s Apostrophe

  1. While Apostrophe s is used in the context of a possessive now where it demonstrates the person’s ownership over a certain thing or quality, s Apostrophe is used when the possession or ownership of something or quality by more than one person is to be conveyed.
  2. In the case of compound nouns, the position of apostrophes differs. If two nouns are acting separately, the apostrophe has to be placed after each noun. S Apostrophe has no role in this context
  3. If a name or a noun ends in ‘s’, the Apostrophe can be placed either before ‘s’ or after ‘s’, but most of the time, the latter prevails.
  4.  In the case of an irregular plural noun, Apostrophe s has to be used. In contrast, s Apostrophe has no role to play in this context.
  5. An example with Apostrophe s in it is- Sonya’s house is grand and beautiful. On the other hand, an example with s Apostrophe is- The Smiths’ have a party at their place tonight.

Conclusion

Sometimes we take a long time trying to figure out the placements of an apostrophe before or after ‘s’. But certain rules are to be kept in mind. While the former is used when we wish to convey an individual’s possession of a certain thing or quality as against the latter’s usage, which is to convey that the possession of a thing or quality is not by an individual but by more than one person. In the case of compound nouns, the position of apostrophes differs.

If two nouns are acting separately, the apostrophe has to be placed after each noun. S Apostrophe has no role in this context. In the case of an irregular plural noun, Apostrophe s has to be used. In contrast, s Apostrophe has no role to play in this context. An example with Apostrophe s in it is- Sonya’s house is grand and beautiful. On the other hand, an example with s Apostrophe is- The Smiths’ have a party at their place tonight.

References

  1. https://www.proquest.com/openview/2411acd771726546179677ee3f18bea9/1?pq-origsite=gscholar&cbl=18750&diss=y
  2. https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/english-today/article/abs/apostrophes-who-needs-them/7F58D7F5D133D1E99C4C6B332CB18E18
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