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English Grammar: Apostrophe Beginner to Apostrophe Expert

Master the apostrophe with a course that takes you from the basics to professional knowledge of the apostrophe.
4.5 (30 ratings)
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177 students enrolled
Created by Dr Clare Lynch
Last updated 3/2016
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  • 1 hour on-demand video
  • 11 Articles
  • 21 Supplemental Resources
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
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What Will I Learn?
Know with confidence exactly when and how to use an apostrophe
Avoid common confusions - like confusing "its" and "it's", "whose" and "who's", "theirs" and "there's"
Spend more time writing and less time worrying about grammar
Prevent the apostrophe mistakes that will instantly zap your credibility among editors and employers
View Curriculum
  • Working knowledge of the English language
  • A willingness to engage with the many written exercises designed to cement knowledge
  • Pen, paper and printer for completing written exercises would be useful

The apostrophe is something you need to get right, every time. A single misplaced apostrophe in that CV or that manuscript you've sweated over for years? It could undo all your hard work in a single moment. Because if there's one thing employers, editors and educated readers will judge you on, it's how you use the apostrophe.

But the apostrophe needn't be difficult - it just takes a little bit of thought and a teacher who knows how to make the rules clear, easy to remember and even fun! That's where English Grammar: Apostrophe Beginner to Apostrophe Expert comes in.

In English Grammar: Apostrophe Beginner to Apostrophe Expert, Cambridge writing tutor Dr Clare Lynch guides you from the basics to professional mastery, step by step.

You'll start by mastering the two main uses of this tricky little punctuation mark – and build up your knowledge from there.

By the end of this course, you'll not only be using the apostrophe with ease and confidence. You'll also have a more in-depth knowledge than the vast majority of professional writers, editors and proofreaders.

This comprehensive course gives you:

  • Clear explanations and illustrations of the most important uses of the apostrophe
  • Loads of quizzes and exercises throughout the course, to help you cement your knowledge
  • Step-by-step guidance on avoiding the most embarrassing apostrophe blunders
  • Simple ways to avoid common confusions – like the difference between "its" and "it's", "who's" and "whose"
  • Advice on how to prevent that rogue, credibility-zapping apostrophe from slipping through the net
  • Answers to advanced questions, like 100's or 100s? CVs or CV's?
  • A downloadable "cheat sheet" you can refer to again and again
Who is the target audience?
  • Native speakers of English who lack confidence in their knowledge of English grammar
  • Students whose first language is not English
  • Business people who need to produced accurate, polished documents for work
  • Professional writers, editors and proofreaders seeking to advance their knowledge of the apostrophe
  • Writers, editors and proofreaders who'd like a reference guide to the apostrophe that they can return to again and again
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Curriculum For This Course
Expand All 27 Lectures Collapse All 27 Lectures 52:12
Apostrophe basics
5 Lectures 12:51

What this course on the apostrophe covers - and how to get the most out of it.

Preview 03:22

Contraction and possession: the two main uses of the apostrophe.

The two basic uses of the apostrophe

Can you identify examples of apostrophes being used to indicate possession and contraction? Can you spot where not to use an apostrophe (in simple pluralisation)?

Hands-on practice: test your understanding of contraction and possession

You may see apostrophes in words like these - but they're wrong, so be careful!

Three occasions you should NEVER use an apostrophe!

Insert apostrophes correctly in these sentences.

Hands-on practice: test your apostrophe knowledge so far

Now it's time to test your recall of what you've learned about apostrophes so far!

Introduction to apostrophes
5 questions
Contractions: common confusions
11 Lectures 16:08

Confusing "its" and "it's" is the most common apostrophe error there is. Here's how to avoid it.

Preview 03:31

Do you need an apostrophe with its? Test your mastery of the difference between its and it's.

Preview 00:22

Like "its" and "it's", "whose" and "who's" are often confused. Here's the easy way to make sure you always pick the right word.

Whose or who's?

Can you tell the difference between whose and who's?

Hands-on practice: Whose or who's?

Confusing "your" and "you're" is an easy mistake to make. Here's a simple way to make sure you always pick the right word.

Your or you're?

Can you tell the difference between your, you're and yours?

Hands-on practice: the difference between "your", "you're" and "yours"

A simple explanation of the difference between "we're", "were" and "where".

We're, were or where?

Can you tell the difference between we're, were, where and where's?

Hands-on practice: the difference between "we're", "were" and "where"

Unsure of the differences betwee "theirs" and "there's", "they're" and "there"? Here's what you need to know.

Theirs or there's? They're or there?

Can you tell the difference between theirs, there's, they're or there?

Hands-on practice: Theirs or there's? They're or There?

This use of the apostrophe will save you from the ire of the internet's grammar snobs.

Preview 02:12

Test your knowledge of some of the trickier aspects of apostrophe usage.

Contractions: common confusions
3 questions
Possession: s apostrophe or apostrophe s?
5 Lectures 09:40

Is it the "cat's whiskers" or the "cats' whiskers"? That depends...

Apostrophe after s? Or before?

Can you insert the apostrophes in the correct positions?

Hands-on practice: Apostrophe s or s apostrophe? Test your knowledge now!

Unusual plurals can pose a challenge when it comes to the apostrophe. Here's what you need to know.

Children's, childrens or childrens'? Ladies, lady's or ladies'?

Test your mastery of the apostrophe with irregular plurals.

Hands-on practice: Apostrophes with irregular plurals!

Don't make this apostrophe mistake on your CV!

Ten years experience or ten years' experience?

Test your knowledge of where to place the apostrophe.

s apostrophe or apostrophe s?
5 questions
Apostrophe niggles
4 Lectures 11:36

Is it St Thomas's Hospital or St Thomas' Hospital? Here's what to do when the name of a person or place ends in "s"

Apostrophes in names and places

Should you put an apostrophe in a number or a decade? Well, that depends...

Numbers and dates: 100's or 100s? 1970s or 1970's?

Apostrophes in abbreviations? Here's what you need to know.

CDs or CD's? (plus the do's and don'ts of p's and q's)

Apostrophe niggles
5 questions

Correct the apostrophes in this memo. Use the apostrophe cheat sheet if you get stuck.

Hands-on practice: correct this memo (with downloadable cheat sheet)
Over to you!
2 Lectures 02:01

Even an experienced writer can miss an apostrophe error. Here's how to check your work for correct usage.

How to catch that rogue apostrophe that slips through the net

Take your writing to the next level with one of my other courses.

Bonus lecture: get my other courses cheap!
About the Instructor
4.7 Average rating
332 Reviews
3,883 Students
4 Courses
Writing tutor, Cambridge University

Teaches writing at Cambridge University - the ONLY Udemy writing instructor who does!

The ONLY Udemy writing instructor who's actually written documents for leading organisations like these:

Aberdeen Asset Management
BNP Paribas
Brunswick PR
Deutsche Bank
King's College, Cambridge 
Misys International Banking Systems Ltd
Prudential UK and Europe
Royal Bank of Scotland
TowerBrook Capital Partners
Tradition (interdealer brokers)
REA Group

And trained students and executives to write at:

European Banking Authority
Judge Business School, University of Cambridge
Language Centre, University of Cambridge
Mavens of London
Prince's Trust

Creator of Good Copy, Bad Copy, which Copyblogger named in its list of 15 copywriting and content marketing blogs that will make you more money

Former Financial Times journalist

I'm Dr Clare Lynch and I love helping anyone in business find their voice as a writer.

I've trained and coached people at a variety of organisations. I've helped executives break through the career roadblock created by poor, underconfident writing. I also teach academic writing and professional communication at the University of Cambridge.

I'm also a director at Cambridge Language Education and Research Associates (CLERA), which provides English language training and consultancy to governments, universities, the private sector and schools, both in the UK and overseas. 

And for the past two decades, I've made a very good living as a business writer myself. After receiving my PhD in Old English from Cambridge, I founded Doris and Bertie Ltd. As the managing director of Doris and Bertie, I head a team of business writing experts that works with anyone who needs to write as part of their job. 

I'm also the author of the business-writing blog Good Copy, Bad Copy. It's named on Copyblogger's list of 15 copywriting and content marketing blogs that will make you more money.

But for me, the best part of my job involves sharing my knowledge of business writing with others. I love giving other people in business the confidence to write in a way that allows them to connect with others. With their clients, their customers, their team, their bosses, the Board or potential investors – whoever they need to win over.

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