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The -s Marker in Writing




1. PLURALS--The -S marker is used to indicate PLURALS, more than one thing:

three birds most problems two kinds some traps

those guys many pencils several goals the books

2. POSSESSION--The -S marker is used to indicate POSSESSION, which shows ownership of something.

Belonging to one person or thing:

Jack's sister the tree's roots

Jill's loss the dog's paw

Belonging to two or more people or things:

my classmates' assignment the Jones' house

three boys' boots two dogs' owners

To make a plural noun possessive, write the word and then add an apostrophe.

If it doesn't end in -s, add 's.

three neighbors' yards (Write NEIGHBORS; add '.)

the children's school (Write CHILDREN; add 's.)

the women's job (Write WOMEN; add 's.)

RULE: Write the word that is the possessive. If it doesn't end in -s, add 's. If it does end in 's, add ' only.

NOTE: Personal pronouns do not use apostrophes: The storm expended its fury.

The book was hers.

3. CONTRACTIONS--Use an apostrophe in contractions: It's a zoo in there.

Who's going to the dance?

Common contractions:

I'm (I am) you're (you are) they're (they are)

it's (it is) we've (we have) who's (who is)

he's (he is) she's (she is) can't (can not)

isn't (is not) couldn't (could not) won't (will not)

4. SUBJECT-VERB AGREEMENT--The -s marker is used to make verbs agree with singular subjects in the present tense.

He goes. She goes. It goes.

He walks. She walks. It walks.

He tries. She tries. It tries.

RULE: In the present tense, if the subject is a HE, SHE, or IT, then the verb must have an -s. Mary (she) arrives soon.

The man (he) seems nice.

The car (it) is damaged.

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