Grammar Tips: Capital Letters and Apostrophes

The rules for the use of capital letters and apostrophes are quite easy to remember.

1. We use capital letters for the days of the week but not for seasons.
• One Saturday in autumn.
2. We use capital letters for planets – but not the earth, sun or moon.
• Mercury is closer to the sun than the earth is.
3. We use capital letters for countries and for ‘nationality’ words.
• David is from Germany but Jana is Slovak.
• I bought the camera in Hong Kong but it’s Japanese.
4. And we use capital letters when we talk about languages as school subjects – but other subjects don’t have a capital letter.
• She’s got exams in English, French, history and geography this year.

We use an apostrophe (‘) to show either possession or that there is a letter missing (e.g. the apostrophe in ‘she’s’ shows that there is a letter missing in ‘she is’)
1. We use apostrophes with people or animals to show possession.
• My sister’s house.
• The dog’s blanket.
For things we use ‘of’ (the front of the car, NOT the car’s front.)
2. The position of the apostrophe depends on whether the noun is singular or plural. Look at these two examples.
• My friend’s house. (This is about one friend.)
• My friends’ house. (This is about two or more friends who share a house.)
3. If a plural noun does not end in ‘s’ (e.g. men, people, children) we use ‘s to show possession.
• The children’s bedroom.
• A pair of women’s sunglasses.

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