We've included some advice on apostrophes for 2 reasons:
But once you've mastered it, it's easy! We'll show you how.
They have two uses:
Apostrophes show you that some letters have been taken out of a word to shorten it:
Do not becomes don't
I will becomes I'll
Could have becomes could've
You are becomes you're
The ' goes where the letters have been removed.
Although some people will tell you not to shorten words when you're writing cover letters, we don't agree. Shortened words sound more warm and personal and are easier to read. Though there are still a few people who prefer formal language, this number is dwindling. Plain English is commonplace now.
Apostrophes show you that something belongs to something else. To show belonging, you add 's.
The dog's tail -- the tail belongs to the do
The car's lights -- the lights belong to the car
Tony's hair -- the hair belongs to Tony
Usually the ' goes before the s.
But if the owner already ends in an s, then the ' goes after the s that is already there. You can add 's in some cases but it's optional. To avoid confusion, just add ' after the s.
James' parents -- the parents belong to James.
Chris' money -- the money belongs to Chris.
The dogs' bowl -- the bowl belong to some dogs.
The boys' coats -- the coats belong to some boys.
The cars' wheels -- the wheels belong to some cars.
Watch out for plurals that don't end in s. Words like men and children don't end in s, but they are talking about lots of people. These words use 's to show possession. For example:
The men's hats -- says that the hats belong to the men.
The women's house -- says that the house belongs to the women.
Here's a BBC quiz if you'd like some practice before completing your job application form, CV, resume or cover letter.