Everyday English 1
Everyday English 1

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Everyday English 1

5.4 Apostrophes

Apostrophes do two things. They show that a letter (or letters) is missing or that something belongs to someone. Like commas, apostrophes are often used incorrectly.

Missing letters

Any time a letter (or letters) is missed out an apostrophe is needed to show this.In the box are common examples of words that use an apostrophe in this way.

Examples of apostrophes

does not becomes doesn’t

you have becomes you’ve

do not becomes don’t

cannot becomes can’t

I have becomes I’ve

I will becomes I’ll

I would becomes I’d

it is becomes it’s

would not becomes wouldn’t

Activity 37 Spot the apostrophe

Timing: Allow about 10 minutes

In the text below, highlight all the words that use an apostrophe to show a letter (or letters) is missing.

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Answer

Check if you’ve spotted all the words with apostrophes:

wouldn’t

you’d

didn’t

it’s

he’d

hadn’t

didn’t

I’ll

Activity 38 Inserting apostrophes

Try putting in the missing apostrophes in the text below.

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Discussion

Check your answer to see if you put in all the missing apostrophes:

We didn’t do well at football because the team hadn’t had much time to play together. I wasn’t very confident at all. The coach wouldn’t allow us to chat to each other and I don’t think he liked us much. It’s a shame because we could’ve been really good.

Activity 39 Matching shortened words with the full word

Match the shortened words below, which use an apostrophe, with the full word.

Using the following two lists, match each numbered item with the correct letter.

  1. she didn’t

  2. they’ll

  3. you’d

  4. I’ve

  5. he won’t

  6. we wouldn’t

  • a.she did not

  • b.we would not

  • c.they will

  • d.he will not

  • e.you would

  • f.I have

The correct answers are:
  • 1 = a
  • 2 = c
  • 3 = e
  • 4 = f
  • 5 = d
  • 6 = b

Belonging

You also use an apostrophe when something belongs to someone. It goes after the name of the owner:

Matthew’s bag

Emily’s computer

My dad’s coat

The cat’s bed

The house’s windows

Activity 40 Apostrophes for belonging

Timing: Allow about 5 minutes

Add the apostrophes in the correct place for the following sentences:

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Answer

Check where you’ve put your apostrophes against these answers:

My sister’s coat.

The dog’s bowl.

The car’s wheels.

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