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Student Information

ENGLISH LANGUAGE TIPS

English Grammar Rules about Apostrophes and Semi Colons

Apostrophes

  1. Apostrophes are not used with personal pronouns, but are used in contractions.
  • Your, describes ownership. It is a personal pronoun.
  • You’re, is a contraction and an abbreviation for you are.

Therefore your car means the car is yours.You’re car translates into “you are car,” which makes no sense and reflects a grammatical error.

Similar rules exist for using It’s and Its.

  • Its is a personal pronoun. It also describes ownership.
  • It’s is a contraction and an abbreviation for it is.

Its leaves are green, refers to the leaves belonging to the tree .It’s leaves are green translates into “it is leaves are green or “ it has leaves are green,” neither of which makes sense in a sentence or is grammatically correct.

  1. Apostrophes are used with singular and plural possessive nouns.
  2. For nouns that are singular and possessive the apostrophe goes before the s.
  • Ex. Mike ’s uniform.
  1. For nouns that are plural and possessive, the apostrophe goes after the s.
  • Ex. The track teams’ uniforms.

Semi colons

  1. Semi colons connect two clauses that can otherwise be used independently. These clauses would be grammatically complete enough to function as two separate sentences, but you might want one sentence so there’s no break in the flow. (When reading two sentences there’s a natural pause that occurs between the first and second sentence.) You may not want that pause. You might want to connect them or highlight their contrast which is more effective with a semi colon.

 

  • Connecting clauses with a semi colon: “I’m an excellent driver; I obey the traffic laws at all times.”
  • Contrasting clauses with a semi colon: “I’m an excellent driver; I’ve only been in twelve accidents.”
  1. Semi colons are also used when making a list of items that are connected with a comma.

 

  • Ex.The trip includes stops in Los Angeles; California, London; United Kingdom and Paris; France.