Knowledge of Language - The Apostrophe
The animals were given vitamins.

Knowledge of Language - The Apostrophe

This English Language quiz is called 'Knowledge of Language - The Apostrophe' and it has been written by teachers to help you if you are studying the subject at middle school. Playing educational quizzes is a fabulous way to learn if you are in the 6th, 7th or 8th grade - aged 11 to 14.

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Apostrophes (’) are used in two ways. First, they show ownership or possession of singular and plural nouns. Second, they are used to show when there is a missing letter in a contraction.

  • Let’s look at an example for the first way, i.e., showing ownership.

Sentence 1: Margaret has a new car.
Sentence 2: Margaret’s new car is blue.

In the first sentence we learn that Margaret has a new car and in the second sentence, the apostrophe (’) with the added letter “s” tells us that the car belongs to Margaret or that Margaret owns the car.

Margaret is the singular subject in the above sentence. When showing possession with a singular subject, the apostrophe comes at the end of the word followed by an “s”. However, when the subject is plural, i.e. the word ends in an “s”, then the apostrophe comes after the “s”. Here is an example:

Sentence 1: The horses were given fresh hay.
Sentence 2: The horses’ hay was fresh.

In the first sentence we learn that “horses” were given fresh hay and in the second sentence we learn that the horses own the hay. As “horses” is plural, meaning there is more than one horse, the apostrophe appears after the “s”. An additional “s” is not added. The exception with putting an apostrophe at the end of a plural noun and adding the “s” is when a plural word does not end in an “s”. Examples of plural words that do not end in “s” include men, women, children and people. When showing possession, they would be written as men’s, women’s, children’s and people’s.

[NOTE: When a proper name ends in an “s” it is treated as a singular subject and is, therefore, given an apostrophe followed by an “s”. For example: Charles is a singular noun. Even though his name ends in an “s”, to show something belongs to Charles it would be written as “Charles’s”.]

  • Now let’s look at an example for the second way, i.e., replacing or showing where a missing letter in a contraction is. A contraction is a word or phrase that has been shortened by dropping one or more letters. Examples of some contractions include:

cannot becomes can’t (the apostrophe replaces the second “n” and the “o”)
do not becomes don’t (the apostrophe replaces the “o” in not and connects “do” to “not”)
is not becomes isn’t (the apostrophe replaces the “o” in not and connects “is” to “not”).

1.
Choose which answer shows us the correct use of the apostrophe that should be used in the blank space.

We went to see the Lincoln Monument. Have you ever seen _________ Monument?
Lincolns's
Lincolns'
Lincoln
Lincoln's
In the first sentence “Lincoln Monument” refers to a thing/object. In the second sentence we learn who owns the Monument. Answer (a) shows a plural proper name. It also shows an apostrophe “s” after a plural word that ends in an “s”. We know that there is only one Lincoln and the use of the second “s” is not correct. Therefore, this answer is not correct. Answer (b) also shows a plural proper name and is not a correct representation of the object. Answer (c) is a singular noun that shows no owners so it is not the answer needed in the second sentence. Answer (d) shows a singular nouns of ownership and is the correct answer.
2.
Choose which answer shows us the correct use of the apostrophe that should be used in the blank space.

The house on the corner is where John lives. ______ house is on the corner.
Johns'
John's
His
His'
The first sentence tells us where John lives. The second sentence is to show us who owns the house. Answer (c) is a possessive pronoun and could be used here. However, we are looking to find the possession using an apostrophe so this answer would not be the correct answer. Answer (d) is an incorrect use of the apostrophe as “his” already relays possession on its own. John is a singular noun. Answer (a) shows a plural noun or it could be a person’s proper last name. We know that we only have one John so Answer (a) is not correct. That leaves Answer (b) which shows that the house belongs to John.
3.
Choose which answer shows us the correct use of the apostrophe that should be used in the blank space.

She would not go to the park and she ______ stay there either.
would not
would'nt
wouldn't
will not
In the blank in this sentence we are looking for the contraction of “would not”. This contraction shows past tense. Therefore, Answer (d) is not correct as it shows future tense and it is not a contraction. Answer (a) repeats “would not” and does not show us the contraction. Answer (b) shows an incorrect contraction. The apostrophe in a contraction shows you where a letter or letters are missing. In Answer (b) there is no missing letter between “would” and “not” which is incorrectly shown as “nt”. Answer (c) shows the correct contraction of “would not” with the apostrophe taking the place of the “o” in “not” and linking “would” with “not”.
4.
Choose which answer shows us the correct use of the apostrophe that should be used in the blank space.

They are afraid to walk down the alley because _______ scared of the darkness.
they're
their
they'are
they's
In the blank in this sentence we are looking for the contraction of “they are”. Answer (b) is a possessive pronoun and shows ownership. This sentence does not need to show ownership so Answer (b) is not correct. Answers (c) and (d) show incorrect usage of the apostrophe and contraction. The apostrophe in a contraction replaces a letter or letters. Answer (c) contains all of the letters and an incorrect use of the apostrophe. Answer (d) shows possess, however, the possessive pronoun for they is their – it does not use an apostrophe and “s”. Answer (a) shows the correct contraction of “they are”. The apostrophe replaces the “a” in “are” and links “they” and “are” together.
5.
Choose which answer shows us the correct use of the apostrophe that should be used in the blank space.

The animals were given vitamins. They are the _________ vitamins.
animal's
animals'
animals's
their
The word “animals” is a plural noun. Answer (a) shows ownership by one animal so it is not the correct answer needed in the second sentence. Answer (c) is not correct because when a plural noun ends in an “s” a second “s” does not come after an apostrophe. Answer (d) is a possessive pronoun and could be used but we are looking for showing possession/ownership with the use of an apostrophe so this answer is not correct. Answer (b) shows a plural possessive noun and is the correct answer to be used in the second sentence.
6.
Choose which answer shows us the correct use of the apostrophe that should be used in the blank space.

He is not going to the picnic because he _____ ready.
is not
isn't
ain't
wasn't
In the blank in this sentence we are looking for the contraction of “is not”. This contraction shows present tense. Therefore, Answer (d) is not correct as it shows a past tense contraction. Answer (c) is not a correct word although it is often used as slang. Answer (a) repeats “is not” and does not show us the contraction. Answer (b) shows the contraction of “is not”. The apostrophe replaces the “o” in not and links “is” with “not”.
7.
Choose which answer shows us the correct use of the apostrophe that should be used in the blank space.

The people walked to the court. It was the ________ court.
person's
peoples'
people's
people
The first sentence tells us what the people did. The second sentence is meant to show us who owns the court. Answer (a) is a singular noun and does not represent the plural noun “people”. As “people” is a plural noun on its own, no “s” is added to it so Answer (b) is not correct. Answer (d) does not show possession or ownership. Therefore, Answer (c) shows us ownership of the court and is the correct answer.
8.
Choose which answer shows us the correct use of the apostrophe that should be used in the blank space.

Frances bought a new party dress. The party dress is ________.
Frances's
Frances
hers
herself
Frances is a singular noun. Answer (b) just repeats the singular noun and does not show possession. Answer (c) is a possessive pronoun and could be used but we are looking for showing possession/ownership with the use of an apostrophe so this answer is not correct. Answer (d) is a reflexive pronoun and does not show possession. Answer (a) shows a singular possessive noun. As Frances is a proper name that ends in an “s” it is treated as a singular noun with adding an apostrophe and an “s”.
9.
Choose which answer shows us the correct use of the apostrophe that should be used in the blank space.

Trevor brought his car and Jared brought his own car. They are ________ and _______ cars.
Trevor and Jared's
Trevor's and Jared
Trevor's and Jared's
Trevors' and Jareds'
When two or more people or things own more than one possession, each owner receives an apostrophe “s”. In the first sentence we learn that both Trevor and Jared brought their own, separate cars. They do not own the same car. Therefore, each of them should receive an apostrophe and “s”. The correct answer is Answer (c).
10.
Choose which answer shows us the correct use of the apostrophe that should be used in the blank space.

Jeff and David go to the same school. That is ______ and ______ school.
Jeff and David's
Jeff's and David's
Jeff and David
his and his
When two or more people or things own the same possess, only the last named owner receives an apostrophe “s”. In this sentence, the school belongs to both Jeff and David. As David is the last listed owner, only David gets an apostrophe “s”. Therefore, Answer (a) is the correct answer for the second sentence.
Author:  Christine G. Broome

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