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Another apostrophe question.

(11 Posts)
IslaValargeone Fri 15-Feb-13 14:01:39

The sentence 'I was asked to pick up the boys coats' where does the apostrophe go and why?

Same with 'The peoples cars filled the car park'

Thanks clever peeps.

NickNacks Fri 15-Feb-13 14:02:40

Boys' coats.

IslaValargeone Fri 15-Feb-13 14:03:56

But how do you know if its one boy with many coats, or more than one boy with their coats?

NotInMyDay Fri 15-Feb-13 14:04:33

More than one coat belonging to one boy = boy's coats.
More than one coat belonging to more than one boy = boys' coats.

People's acts like children's.

NickNacks Fri 15-Feb-13 14:04:42

Oh and why? There is more than one boy so it's boys (no apostrophe) and the boys own coats so it's boys'.

NickNacks Fri 15-Feb-13 14:07:47

Well I don't know how many boys there are. That's why the apostrophe placement is so important.

SanityClause Fri 15-Feb-13 14:10:32

If there is one boy with lots of coats, it would be the boy's coats.
If there are anumber of boys with coats it would be the boys' coats.

IslaValargeone Fri 15-Feb-13 14:14:17

But from the sentence, you don't know how many boys there are?
Surely that is key in placing the apostrophe properly?

mirai Fri 15-Feb-13 14:15:12

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

mirai Fri 15-Feb-13 14:16:56

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

lougle Fri 15-Feb-13 14:23:01

The apostrophe goes after the noun (person, place, thing, animal, or idea)

If you see it as a logical process, it makes sense.

1) How many of the noun is there? If one, it's singular, more than one, plural. So, boy vs. boys.
2) Do they own anything? If yes, put an apostrophe after the noun. You don't repeat 's's so if it is a plural noun with an 's' on the end (boys, girls, tables, cars) then you just put the apostrophe. If it is a singular noun with no 's' on the end, you add an apostrophe followed by 's'.
3) What do they own?

So, you can have:

The boy's coat (one boy has one coat)
The boys' coat (the boys share a coat)
They boy's coats (one boy has more than one coat)
The boys' coats (the boys have more than one coat, but we don't know whether they each have a coat or if they share two or more coats between them)

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