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IELTS: Top 5 basic rules to help you understand the correct use of apostrophe

Do you know how to use apostrophes correctly? Try writing a sentence with at least two apostrophes.

The use of an apostrophe is extremely pertinent in the English language. It might seem to some as pointless or complicated but it gives the sentence the right meaning to understand it properly. Lack of use of apostrophe or improper placement can change the entire meaning of the sentence!

Similarly, in IELTS, apostrophe matters very much. The IELTS exam or International English Language Testing System exam is the most sought after the exam for students who wish to study in international universities. It is a test that checks basic English language skills like speaking, writing, listening, and reading. If you are preparing for the IELTS exam, you will be aware of the IELTS syllabus and the type of questions asked. If not, you can check the syllabus here, and start your IELTS preparation. The lack of use of apostrophe can throw off the evaluator from giving you the needed score.

Tackling the Apostrophe Conundrum: When is the Apostrophe Used in the IELTS Writing Task?

You use an apostrophe in two cases:

  • For contractions (don’t for do not)
  • To show possession (Edward’s Pen means the pen belongs to Edward)

Many students who are searching for ways on how to prepare for IELTS are confused about the use of an apostrophe. Here we are covering its correct use in 5 simple steps:

  1. A key point that IELTS candidates should remember is not to use contractions in their formal writing. Marks will be lost. Some examples of contractions are – don’t, won’t, shouldn’t, wouldn’t, they’re, etc. Apart from this, an apostrophe also finds its use in auxiliary verbs such as She’s, They’re, We’ve, etc. The reason for not using apostrophe here is it is not considered as formal writing and IELTS syllabus deals with formal writing skills.
  2. For a singular possessive noun or an indefinite pronoun, the apostrophe should be added right at the end of the word, followed by an ‘s’. Some examples are – Child’s Football, Friend’s car, Riya’s scooter, etc.
  3. For all the words which show plural possessive of a noun, the apostrophe is added right at the end of the word if it ends with an ‘s’. For example – Boys’ play, friends’ place, students’ game. However, if the plural possessive of a noun does not end with an ‘s’, the same rule is followed as in point 2. For example- Children’s notebooks.
  4. If two nouns are given, which own the same thing, an apostrophe is added at the end of the second noun, followed by an ‘s’. For example – Rahul and Sarthak’s car.
  5. For two nouns, which do not own the same thing, the apostrophes are put after each noun. For example – Rahul’s and Sarthak’s bi-cycles.

So Remember:

The apostrophe serves various purposes in the English grammar: to show possession and omission but never to make plurals except for digits and letters. In the IELTS, if you are in doubt leave it out. It causes more confusion to insert one where it doesn’t belong than it does to omit one.

No contractions are allowed in formal writing so should not be used during IELTS writing.

We hope these tips will provide you with more clarity regarding the concept of an apostrophe. Also, IELTS preparation online is a good tool to master your reading and writing skills. Don’t forget to share this blog if you found it helpful.

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