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Apostrophe S vs. S Apostrophe — What's the Difference?

Edited by Tayyaba Rehman — By Fiza Rafique — Published on January 9, 2024
Apostrophe S ('s) denotes possession or contraction for singular nouns, while S Apostrophe (s') indicates possession for plural nouns ending in "s."
Apostrophe S vs. S Apostrophe — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Apostrophe S and S Apostrophe


Key Differences

Apostrophe S ('s) is primarily used to show possession for singular nouns, like "Sarah's book," indicating the book belongs to Sarah. On the other hand, S Apostrophe (s') is used for plural nouns that already end in "s," as in "the cats' toys," referring to toys belonging to multiple cats.
In addition to possession, Apostrophe S ('s) can also indicate contractions, merging two words like "it's" for "it is." Conversely, S Apostrophe (s') has no role in contractions and is solely for showing possession for plural nouns.
Apostrophe S ('s) caan be used with proper nouns, even if they end in "s," such as "James's car," which is a stylistic choice. S Apostrophe (s'), however, is not used with singular proper nouns, even if they end in "s."
When it comes to pronunciation, the addition of Apostrophe S ('s) often creates an extra syllable, as in "boss's," whereas S Apostrophe (s') does not alter the pronunciation of the plural noun it follows.
In cases of singular nouns ending in "s," usage varies; some prefer Apostrophe S ('s), like "class's schedule," while others opt for S Apostrophe (s'), as in "class' schedule," showing flexibility in English language conventions.

Comparison Chart


Singular nouns, contractions
Plural nouns ending in "s"


John's car
The players' locker room

Proper Nouns

Can be used with names ending in "s"
Not used with singular proper nouns


May add extra syllable
Does not change pronunciation

Singular Nouns Ending in "s"

Can be used with stylistic variations
Used as an alternative style

Compare with Definitions

Apostrophe S

Demonstrates a singular entity's relationship to something.
The city's infrastructure needs improvement.

S Apostrophe

Does not alter the pronunciation of the plural noun.
The kittens' owner is very caring.

Apostrophe S

Forms contractions by combining two words.
She's going to the park today.

S Apostrophe

Employed when multiple individuals possess the same item.
The Smiths' house is the biggest on the block.

Apostrophe S

Shows possession for singular nouns.
The dog's leash is on the table.

S Apostrophe

Used for showing collective ownership by a group.
The students' project won the competition.

Apostrophe S

Indicates ownership for singular proper nouns.
Chris's guitar sounds amazing.

S Apostrophe

Demonstrates plural entities' relationship to something.
The cars' tires were all flat.

Apostrophe S

Can be used for singular nouns ending in "s."
The dress's color is stunning.

S Apostrophe

Indicates possession for plural nouns ending in "s."
The teachers' lounge is on the second floor.

Common Curiosities

What is Apostrophe S ('s)?

It's used to show possession for singular nouns or contractions.

Can Apostrophe S ('s) be used for contractions?

Yes, it's often used in contractions, like "it's" for "it is."

Can you use Apostrophe S ('s) with singular nouns ending in "s"?

Yes, though it's often a matter of style and preference.

Can you use Apostrophe S ('s) with names ending in "s"?

Yes, it's a stylistic choice, like "James's."

Does Apostrophe S ('s) change pronunciation?

Yes, it can add an extra syllable.

Does S Apostrophe (s') change pronunciation?

No, it doesn’t alter the pronunciation of the plural noun.

Is S Apostrophe (s') used in contractions?

No, it's solely for showing possession.

What is S Apostrophe (s')?

It indicates possession for plural nouns that end in "s."

Can S Apostrophe (s') be used with singular nouns?

Generally no, it's for plural nouns ending in "s."

Can Apostrophe S ('s) indicate multiple ownership?

No, it's for singular possession.

Is the choice between Apostrophe S ('s) and S Apostrophe (s') sometimes subjective?

Yes, especially for singular nouns ending in "s," style preferences may vary.

Are there exceptions to using Apostrophe S ('s)?

Yes, some style guides suggest just an apostrophe for singular nouns ending in "s."

Is the usage of S Apostrophe (s') flexible?

It's pretty standard for plural nouns ending in "s."

Can S Apostrophe (s') indicate singular possession?

No, it's for plural possessive cases.

Is S Apostrophe (s') ever used with proper nouns?

Yes, but usually for plural proper nouns, like "the Johnsons' home."

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Fiza Rafique
Fiza Rafique is a skilled content writer at, where she meticulously refines and enhances written pieces. Drawing from her vast editorial expertise, Fiza ensures clarity, accuracy, and precision in every article. Passionate about language, she continually seeks to elevate the quality of content for readers worldwide.
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.

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