Apostrophes have two functions:
- to show possession
- to show letters are missing
It’s always a good idea to follow house style (contraction of “it is”)
Please use Sarah’s statistics (showing possession)
The apostrophe shows that something is owned by someone. For example, the Statistician’s Office is the office owned by the Statistician. Depending on who is doing the owning, the apostrophe is used differently.
If the possessor is singular, use an apostrophe followed by “s”.
The report’s contents (contents belonging to the report)
The statistician’s opinion (opinion belonging to the statistician)
If the possessor is singular and ends in s, use an apostrophe followed by “s”.
James’s driving test
ONS’s web standards
If the possessor is plural and doesn’t end in s, use an apostrophe followed by “s”.
The women’s average salary
The department’s staff
If the possessor is plural and ends in s, use an apostrophe after “s”.
The statistics’ source
The statisticians’ discussion
The apostrophe here is used to show where letters are missing in a word. For example: do not › don’t
Contractions should be used. Avoid using ‘should’ve’, ‘could’ve’, ‘would’ve’ though, as these are hard to read.
The most common are: