Lets Lirn Inglish, 4

   Let’s Learn English Grammar, Lesson 4

Please be aware that I’m not a teacher, I’m learning about grammar using these posts and hope some of you will learn along with me as I seek out the British English grammar on the internet. Please be aware that American English grammar rules differ from English grammar taught in the United Kingdom, as do Australian, Canadian, and many other countries using English. Here we go then with British English grammar.




Part Two

Last week, I posted the first lesson  ‘Using apostrophes in possession’. This week I’m looking at ‘Using apostrophes in omission’.

The online Oxford Dictionaries for apostrophes in omission states:

“An apostrophe can be used to show that letters or numbers have been omitted. Here are some examples of apostrophes that indicate missing letters:

I’m – short for I am

he’ll – short for he will

she’d – short for she had or she would

pick ’n’ mix – short for pick and mix

it’s hot – short for it is hot

didn’t – short for did not

“It also shows that numbers have been omitted, especially in dates, e.g. the Berlin Wall came down in the autumn of ’89 (short for 1989).”


th[7] (2)

“It’s or Its

“These two words can cause a lot of confusion: many people are uncertain about whether or not to use an apostrophe. These are the rules to remember:

its (without an apostrophe) means ‘belonging to it’:

The dog wagged its tail.

Each case is judged on its own merits.

it’s (with an apostrophe) means ‘it is’ or ‘it has’:

It’s been a long day.

It’s cold outside.

It’s a comfortable car and it’s got some great gadgets.”


th[7] (3)

“Apostrophes and Plural Forms

The general rule is that you should not use an apostrophe to form the plurals of nouns, abbreviations, or dates made up of numbers: just add -s (or -es, if the noun in question forms its plural with -es). For example:

euro euros (e.g. The cost of the trip is 570 euros.)
pizza pizzas (e.g. Traditional Italian pizzas are thin and crisp.)
apple apples (e.g. She buys big bags of organic apples and carrots.)
MP MPs (e.g. Local MPs are divided on this issue.)
1990 1990s (e.g. The situation was different in the 1990s.)

It’s very important to remember this grammatical rule.

“There are one or two cases in which it is acceptable to use an apostrophe to form a plural, purely for the sake of clarity:

You can use an apostrophe to show the plurals of single letters:

I’ve dotted the i’s and crossed the t’s.

Find all the p’s in appear.

You can use an apostrophe to show the plurals of single numbers:

Find all the number 7’s.

“These are the only cases in which it is generally considered acceptable to use an apostrophe to form plurals: remember that an apostrophe should never be used to form the plural of ordinary nouns, names, abbreviations, or numerical dates.

“You can read more rules and guidelines about apostrophes on the Oxford Dictionaries blog. Here you will find further examples of correct and incorrect use of apostrophes.”


Further Help

The website below offers some further guidance on using apostrophes: When in doubt, they suggest using the (of the) sentence construction. Instead of saying ‘my uncle’s return was delayed’. We could say ‘the return of my uncle was delayed’.


I hope you’ve found this useful.


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About caroleparkes

My husband calls me a butterfly because I flit from one hobby to another. Apart from being a wife for 52 years, a mother of three sons, and a grandmother, I'm also an author, genealogist, amateur artist, a lover of most needlecrafts, and occasional poet. Of the above, my most enduring interest has been writing and I hope to be doing it well into old age.
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4 Responses to Lets Lirn Inglish, 4

  1. pamkirst2014 says:

    This is a noble cause! Even though our grammar may differ slightly, I hope your words reach open ears and minds!!!


    • caroleparkes says:

      Thank you for your comments. There are just the few exceptions but generally, our grammar is the same. You just have to be aware of the differences. I too hope we can all learn and maybe Indie publishing will gain a better reputation.


  2. Pingback: Lets Lirn Inglish | Bookish Lynx

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