The Bloggers’ Guide to the Apostrophe

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  • November 28, 2007
Patrick Altoft

Patrick Altoft

Director of Strategy

Blogs are generally an informal medium with most amateur writers ignoring minor spelling and grammatical errors in favour of a more conversational style.


While some bloggers can get away with this I don’t recommend it. For me the first rule of blogging is to spell check my work before I hit the publish button, building a readership is hard enough without upsetting people with basic grammar issues.

Rule 1: Using an apostrophe to replace a missing letter

This is especially useful in informal writing when most people much prefer to read “could’ve” rather than “could have”. The apostrophe goes where the letters have been removed.

Example uses:

  • You’re right
  • I don’t read
  • He’s a blogger

Sometimes words are shortened in a strange way for example “I will not” becomes “I won’t”. Remember that “you’re” is short for “you are”.

The word “your” indicates possession and doesn’t require an apostrophe. For example “It’s your blog”

Rule 2: Handling plurals

This is a common trap for bloggers. As a general rule remember that if you are writing a plural you don’t need an apostrophe.

Example uses:

  • Apples
  • Pears
  • The room is full of bloggers
  • This blog has lots of readers

Rule 3: Indicating possession

An apostrophe can be used to indicate both singular and plural possession depending on whether it is placed before or after the “s”. Place the apostrophe before the s to show singular possession.

Place an apostrophe after the “s” when you are dealing with a possessive plural case that has an “s” at the end.

Example uses (singular):

  • The cat’s tail – says that the tail belongs to the cat.
  • The user’s run Digg
  • Tony’s hair – says that the hair belongs to Tony.
  • Darren Rowse’s blog is called ProBlogger
  • Apple’s iPhone is cool
  • Google’s algorithm is interesting
  • Matt Cutts’s blog is about Google

Example uses (plural):

  • The dogs’ bowls – says that the bowls belong to some dogs.
  • The bloggers’ WordPress themes were amazing
  • Please visit my readers’ websites
  • The men’s hats – says that the hats belong to the men
  • The women’s house – says that the house belongs to the women.

Note that if a word is already a plural before you add an “s” the apostrophe should be added before the “s”.

Further reading:

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