Russ’s question: “My manager just told me I am not using apostrophes in the right place. I believe I was taught to add them whenever a word ends in ‘s.’ But she says this is wrong.”
BizWritingTip’s response: I have noticed this grammar problem a lot lately: apostrophes being misused and abused. Apostrophes have two uses. First, they indicate a missing letter or letters.
Can’t versus cannot
It’s versus it is
Second, they replace the word “of” thereby showing possession.
In today’s business world (the business world of today)
Over 15 years’ experience (the experience of 15 years)
The firm’s assets (the assets of the firm)
The trick is where you place the apostrophe. It changes depending on what you are trying to say. Inside the “s” means there is only one item — outside the “s” means there are several items.
The firm’s assets (the assets of one firm)
The firms’ assets (the assets of more than one firm)
Note: Do not use an apostrophe if there is no possession involved.
I have designed websites for all the clubs’ I have managed. (An apostrophe after clubs is wrong because no letters have been omitted and there is no possession.)
I have designed websites for all the clubs I have managed.