We use the apostrophe for three reasons.
To show that a letter or letters are missing
• I’m going to the zoo.
• You can’t feed the animals.
• It’s a lovely day out, isn’t it?
To show possession
In the singular, the apostrophe comes before the ‘s’. In the plural it comes after the ‘s’.
• The girl’s idea was accepted. (Singular – the idea a girl has had)
• The girls’ idea was accepted. (Plural – an idea a group of girls has had)
• The company’s management must tackle this. (The management of one company)
• The companies’ management must tackle this. (The management of several companies)
If a plural noun doesn’t end in ‘s’, we add an apostrophe and a ‘s’.
• This is the people’s choice.
• We invited the children’s parents to this event.
With names or singular nouns that end in ‘s’, ‘x’ or ‘z’, we usually add an apostrophe followed by ‘s’.
• The bus’s journey came to an end.
• The fox’s den was well hidden.
• Liz’s bag cut into her shoulder.
However, if it sounds better, it is acceptable to just add the apostrophe.
• Karl Benz’ vehicle was the first to be driven by an internal-combustion engine. • Euripides’ plays show innovation.
In some expressions of time
• We have been given a week’s notice. (Singular)
• We have been given two weeks’ notice. (Plural)
When apostrophes must not be used
Normal plurals don’t need an apostrophe. For example:
• We sell oranges and lemons.
• The 1980s are a blur.
• MPs debating this today.
• People in their 70s need to renew their licence every three years.
The word ‘its’, used to show possession, doesn’t have an apostrophe. ‘It’s’ with an apostrophe means ‘it is’ or ‘it has’.
• The company now has its own car park. It’s to the rear of the building. It’s been there for about a year now.
(c) Plain English Language Advice
Double quotation marks for quotes, reported speech and to cite words and / or phrases.
Adele said: “I’m so happy to be nominated for this award.” Producer Mark said he was “happy” with the result.
Use single quotation marks if there is a quote within a quote.
“Joanna Lumley said that she was ‘elated’ by the news of a new series, to ” the Spokeswoman said.
Hyphens should be used to avoid confusion of word grouping.
‘16-year old boys’ (boys who are 16 years old) ‘16 year-old men’ (16 boys who are a year old)
Use ellipsis (…) to show that you have left out part of a sentence. A space should be included before and after the ellipsis. An ellipsis can also be used to show that a sentence has not been finished off.
Spaces Between A Full Stop And The Next Sentence.
THEGAYUK style is to only have one space after a full stop, not two.
Use [SIC] if the quote the quote you are given or using has a spelling or grammatical error. Mainly used on quotes from social networks such as Twitter.