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Punctuation 04 - Apostrophes and Quotes
"I bought four bananas at the grocers." - does the word 'banana' require an apostrophe in this sentence?

Punctuation 04 - Apostrophes and Quotes

We have learnt that punctuation plays a very important role in enabling a writer to communicate exactly what he wants to say. We know that there are several punctuation marks that are used, some of which more frequently than others.

The full-stop (or period), exclamation mark, question mark, comma, semi colon and colon are among the more frequently used punctuation marks. Two other punctuations marks that are regularly used are quotation marks and apostrophes.

Quotation marks are also known as inverted commas, or simply quotes, and they are punctuation marks used to single out a word or phrase.

Quotation marks are used to identify a name or a title.

They are used to quote somebody verbatim in order to let the reader know what exactly was said by the person quoted.

When we want to borrow some lines from someone else’s writing we put them inside inverted commas.

Quotation marks are something all of us are familiar with as we read a newspaper, a novel or a play.

The apostrophe is another punctuation mark that is very useful for good writing. All of us are exposed to the apostrophe as we have come across words such as CAN’T, DON’T, SHOULDN’T or GAURAV’S WATCH or BOYS’ NIGHT OUT in our daily lives. We also see it in IT’S.

Broadly, an apostrophe is used for showing possession and also, ironically, for omission. In the case of possession the apostrophe - represented by the symbol (‘) - is used after the last letter of the word followed by an S. For example, MY FRIEND’S CAR means a car belonging to my friend.

Since an S is added after the apostrophe mark, a problem arises as to what to do for plurals that end with an S or for the name of a place or a person or a thing that ends in an S. In some cases where the singular ends with an S we may use ‘S or just the (‘). In the case of plurals which end in S, we just use the apostrophe mark after the S, just as in the example shown earlier.

Quotation marks and apostrophes are very interesting punctuation marks and you can test your knowledge of them by taking the quiz that follows.
1.
Choose the sentence which uses the correct punctuation mark.
The Formula 1 cars's deafening noise forced me to close my ears.
The Formula 1 car's deafening noise forced me to close my ears.
The Formula 1 cars' deafening noise forced me to close my ears.
Sentences 2 and 3 are correct.
Both are correct as in Sentence 2 a single car's noise is described and the apostrophe is correctly used. In sentence 3 multiple cars' noise is described and the apostrophe is correctly used here as well
2.
Choose the sentence with the correct punctuation marks.
Flipkart's system for locating the whereabouts of the order is an online search method known as - Tracking.
Flipkart's system for locating the whereabouts of the order is an online search method known as Tracking.
Flipkart's system for locating the whereabouts of the order is an online search method known as "Tracking."
Flipkart's system for locating the whereabouts of the order is an online search method known as, Tracking.
When using technical terms or unusual forms of expression quotation marks are used. The other options use inappropriate punctuation marks
3.
Choose the sentence which uses the correct punctuation mark.
Arpana hurried to the market to meet her aunt and two uncles.
Arpana's hurried to the market to meet her aunt and two uncles.
Arpana hurried to the market to meet her aunt and two uncle's.
Arpana hurried to the market, to meet her aunt and two uncles.
The sentence is correct and the only punctuation mark required is a full stop. The punctuation marks used in other options are incorrect. In Answer 2 there is no description of Arpana's possession and hence the apostrophe is not required. In Answer 3 we are talking about the plural of uncle, which is uncles, rather than possession and so the apostrophe is not required. In answer 4 no comma is needed because the sentence contains just one independent clause.
4.
Choose the sentence which uses the correct punctuation mark.
I bought four banana's at the grocers.
I bought four bananas' at the grocers.
I bought four banana at the grocers.
I bought four bananas at the grocers.
Obviously, the sentence is talking about more than one banana and we are looking for the plural of banana which is bananas. The apostrophe is used for showing possession, not plurals. For example, 'a banana's health benefits were expounded by the dietician'
5.
Choose the sentence with the correct punctuation marks.
Coach Duncan Fletcher said, "Virat Kohli, you wiil bat at number 4."
Coach Duncan Fletcher said "Virat Kohli, you wiil bat at number 4."
Coach Duncan Fletcher said, "Virat Kohli, you wiil bat at number 4".
Coach Duncan Fletcher said, Virat Kohli, you wiil bat at number 4.
A direct speech or quotation has to be in between two quotation marks and a comma is placed just before the beginning of the quotation. All punctuation marks in relation to the quotation have to be within the quotation marks
6.
Choose the sentence with the correct punctuation marks.
"The Lion's Game" by Nelson DeMille is a good book.
"The Lion's Game," by Nelson DeMille is a good book.
The Lion's Game, by Nelson DeMille is a good book.
"The Lion's Game," By Nelson DeMille is a good book.
Quotation marks are to be used around titles of books. Likewise, quotation marks are to be used for song titles, short stories and magazine or newspaper articles. A comma is to be inserted before the preposition 'by' within the quotation marks. In Answer 4 the prepositon 'by' should not be in capitals
7.
Choose the sentence which uses the correct punctuation mark.
He should'nt have gone to the movies with her. His mother wouldn't like it.
He shouldn't have gone to the movies with her. His mother wouldn't like it.
He shouldn't have gone to the movies with her. His mother would'nt like it.
He should'nt have gone to the movies with her. His mother would'nt like it.
Remember that 'shouldn't and wouldn't' are contractions of 'should not and would not' and hence the apostrophe is one of omission. The apostrophe is used in place of the 'o' that appears in the word 'not'
8.
Choose the sentence with the correct punctuation marks.
Terry Nash surmises how he knows he can improve Indian hockey, Dribble, dribble and short passes.
Terry Nash surmises how he knows he can improve Indian hockey Dribble, dribble and short passes.
Terry Nash surmises how he knows he can improve Indian hockey: Dribble, dribble and short passes.
Terry Nash surmises how he knows he can improve Indian hockey: "Dribble, dribble and short passes."
The first part is a complete sentence and the second part is a quote. The quote must be placed betwen inverted commas or quotation marks. Also, since a complete sentence is ahead of the quoted words a colon is used before the quotation
9.
Choose the sentence with the correct punctuation marks.
Are you in agreement with the quotation “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush”?
Are you in agreement with the quotation, “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush?”
Are you in agreement with the quotation, A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush?
Are you in agreement with the quotation, “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush”?
A direct speech, quotation or saying has to be in between two quotation marks and a comma is placed just before the beginning of the quotation. All punctuation marks in relation to the quotation have to be within the quotation marks. In Answer 2 the question mark is within the quotation marks, which is wrong because the question mark does not belong to the quotation and so it belongs outside the quotaion marks
10.
Choose the sentence which uses the correct punctuation mark.
You're an idiot and I'm pretty sure it's your mother opinion too.
You're an idiot and I'm pretty sure its your mother opinion too.
You're an idiot and I'm pretty sure its your mother's opinion too.
You're an idiot and I'm pretty sure it's your mother's opinion too.
Remember that 'you're' is a contraction of 'you are' and 'I'm' is a contraction of 'I am.' Similarly, 'it's' is a contraction of 'it is' and should not be confused with 'its,' which is a pronoun, the possessive form of 'it.' Since we are talking about the opinion of the mother we have to use the apostrophe to indicate possession
Author:  V T Narendra

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