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Notes from a Writer: When to use " s " and when to use " 's "

Hello Fiverr Friends!

I’ve done a lot of “Rewrite My Gig” orders at this point and, while I don’t want to talk myself out of a job here, I wanted to offer some helpful pointers. I notice common mistakes among sellers that don’t live in the US, and I know English is an odd, confusing language, so I want to help!

When you pluralize a word (meaning, when there is more than 1 of something), you put an s on the end.

Example: One shoe, two shoes. One car, two cars. Notice that there is NOT an apostrophe here. If you are just talking about “more than one item,” you should use an s all by itself.

When you are talking about an object belonging to another object, then you would use an apostrophe.

Example: Robert’s shoelaces. The car’s headlights. The 's at the end indicates that item A (the shoelaces / the headlights) belongs to or is a part of item B (Robert / the car).

This is the tricky one! When you have an item that belongs to a GROUP of something, and that GROUP ends with an s, you just move the apostrophe to the outside: s’ .

Example: The childrens’ jackets. The teachers’ union. This indicates that the jackets belong to the group of children, and that the union belongs to all of the teachers.

Hope this helps! :slight_smile:


This is so helpful. Thank you so much.:heart:


This is the perfect opportunity to ask…

Shouldn’t it be “Buyer’s requests” or “Buyer’s requests” (Requests of buyers)

Buyer requests may look like it’s a place to request buyers for your gigs, which I think may be the reason why some non-english speaking sellers end up trying to request buyers in the buyer requests.

I kind-of-know that “buyer requests” is ok, but I cannot grasp how exactly. Is it because there is no “The” at the beginning?

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Alejo, see it this way: “El comprador solicita” which makes it perfectly as how it is: Buyer Requests (the buyer is requesting a job to be done). Conjugation of the third person. :wink:


Can’t we have a protest movement to remove apostrophe’s’ altogether?

The hippopotamuses’ babies were all hungry. Sometimes to indicate a plural of something you add es on the end.

And what about commas? Where should they go?

I sort of have the feeling for where they should go sometimes, but don’t know the rules for them. Most of the time I just leave them out rather than get it wrong. Which is itself wrong.


I have been taught that apostrophe is only for when you’re referring to animated beings, otherwise, it shouldn’t be used and, instead, be written completely.

From your example:

  • Robert’s shoelaces.
  • The headlights of the car.

I think it should be the hippopotamus’ young were all hungry. :slight_smile:

However, I must say, I hate apostrophes. They are my writers Achilles Heel.

Even now, I’m not sure if writers and Achilles should have a few apostrophes scattered about. :frowning:


Or maybe The hippopotami’s young’uns was all hungry.

I didn’t realize we were talking about lower working class hippopotami from northern England. Now it makes sense why they’re so hungry.


I was talking like our own lower class in the southern part of the country but it sounds like they have a common dialect with yours.

Although ours probably wouldn’t say hippopotami.

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Ours wouldn’t know one unless one wandered into the local job center. I don’t even think we have a zoo up North.


Being a writer myself, I’m always a little paranoid about my work. It’s nice to have a written example in plain English to look back to, so cheers!

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Ours probably wouldn’t even notice if one was riding a motorized cart down the aisles of the local Walmart.

Yes we do - Chester Zoo is oop North …

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@thatwordchick - just to nit pick : “children” is the plural of “child” and therefor “the children’s shoes” would have the apostrophe before the s …

Just sayin’ …


Ah! You are correct, my bad!

… and “therefore” should have an e on it. My bad … :wink:

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I have heard that too, but it would be impossibly clunky if you were writing, for example, about car maintenance and had to keep saying “the headlights of your car.”

We normally cheat here and say “car headlights” … avoid the whole apostrophe thing altogether.

Well, the same goes if you used “the car’s headlights”.

In Spanish, and it also applies to English, after the first instance, you’d only use a pronoun or call them “the headlights/your headlights”.

No need to keep repeating. It sounds terrible and doesn’t look nice or professional.

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