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I am thick, come and enlighten me on the following;

(4 Posts)
itsmeolord Sun 06-Sep-09 17:18:53

When is it an instead of a?

When do I use an apostrophe? Mums or Mum's for example? Am thinking that Mums is for the plural and Mum's is belonging to Mum?

Many thanks.

MissAnnesley Sun 06-Sep-09 17:25:07

An before a vowel - so an apple but a banana.

Apostrophe to indicate possession - so Mum's apple.

Plural made with "s" and no apostrophe - so Mums are right.

SpringySponge Sun 06-Sep-09 17:27:39

'An' is before a vowel sound, 'a' before a consonant.

An apple, an orange, a banana. But also an hour, because that sounds like a vowel.

Apostrophes can be for possession - as you say, mum's is belonging to mum.

If it's a plural possession, like 'the ball belonging to the boys', it goes after the s:

the boys' ball

If it only belongs to one boy, it is before the s:

the boy's ball

Apostrophes are also used for contractions, where letters are missed out of words:

isn't (is not), doesn't (does not), we're (we are).

Bringing the two issues together is the often incorrect usage of 'it's' / 'its'.

Its is possessive, but does not require an apostrophe ('its shadow', for example).

It's is a contraction of 'it is'.

itsmeolord Sun 06-Sep-09 18:14:53

Aha! Enlightenment at last. grin

Many thanks.

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