English - Apostrophes (2)

In the following sentence there are some errors involving apostrophes. Put in any missing apostrophes and any other letters you feel are required.

James hand was white as hed held the ice lollies for so long.

The fact that the question asks for more than just 'insert apostrophes' should ring bells and make your child think of what else is required.

Firstly, are there any obvious apostrophes missing? Yes, the word 'hed' is non-existent and we need to use the apostrophe to show it was once 'he had'.

Secondly, there is some possession in the sentence. The hand belongs to James; the 'owner' in this example is 'James'. Now, applying the rule that I discussed previously (simply find the 'owner' and add apostrophe - s, then check the 's' is sounded and remove it if it's not) we can prove where the apostrophe goes.

The 'owner' is James. The apostrophe - s goes on the end and we check that it is sounded when we say it. It is, therefore the correct way of showing it is 'James's', even though this may seem odd if you were badly taught! Given that we say 'Jameses', it is perfectly right.

Finally, the lollies in the sentence own nothing so there should be no apostrophe in there. The final answer should therefore be:
James's hand was white as he'd held the ice lollies for so long.

Put and appropriate apostrophe and other additions into the sentence to make it grammatically correct:
The dolls arm had been fixed but its eye was still missing.

There is no use of an apostrophe for omission - also called contraction - in this sentence. There are, however, a couple of instances where an 'owner' is established.

The doll has an arm, therefore 'doll' is the owner of the arm and there needs to be an apostrophe - s inserted. 'The doll's arm' would therefore be correct.

The eye of the doll is another thing that is 'owned', this time by 'it'. We could expect, using the rules, to put apostrophe - s after the word 'it' BUT... for every rule there has to be an exception, and this is it. Going back to the idea of apostrophes for omission and contraction, the words 'it is', 'it was' and 'it has' all get shortened to 'it's' so if we also use the apostrophe for when 'it' owns something, there's potential for confusion in meaning. This is why, when something belongs to 'it', there's no apostrophe used at all. There are no other exceptions to the rules.

The final answer should therefore be:
The doll's arm had been fixed but its eye was still missing.

Remember the key rule to teach your child. Find the owner and add apostrophe - s. If that 's' doesn't get sounded, leave it off. It really is that simple!

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