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Use this checklist as a list of reminders while you are editing your paper.

  1. Sentence fragments
  2. Sentence sprawl
  3. Misplaced and dangling modifiers
  4. Faulty parallelism
  5. Unclear pronoun reference
  6. Incorrect pronoun case
  1. Omitted commas
  2. Superfluous commas
  3. Comma splices
  4. Apostrophe errors current page arrow
  5. Words easily confused
  6. Misspellings


10a. Apostrophe self-test

  1. [Its / it’s] better to give than to receive.
  2. We always throw a big party on my [mother’s / mothers / mothers’] birthday.
  3. [They’re / There / Their] are three [pieces / piece’s] of pie left.
  4. [Jims / Jims’ / Jim’s] teacher said that [your / you’re] wrong.
  5. She could never finish one of [Dickens / Dickens’ / Dickens’s / Dicken’s] novels.
  6. The dog growled and bared [its / it’s] fangs.
  7. The [boys / boy’s] father said the baseball was his [son’s / sons], but we knew it was [ours / our’s].
  8. The [Simpsons’ / Simpsons / Simpson’s] television is a central part of their lives.
  9. The [skies / sky’s] the limit.
  10. After three [days / day’s / days’] worth of work, they completed the project.

Explanations

  1. It’s better to give than to receive.
    [ “It’s” is a contraction for “it is.” ]
  2. We always throw a big party on my mother’s birthday.
    [The apostrophe indicates possession: “the birthday of my mother.” “Mother” is singular, so an apostrophe and an “s”are added.]
  3. There are three pieces of pie left.
    [In this case, “there” is an expletive — it doesn’t indicate possession (their) or a contraction (they are). “Pieces” is simply the plural of “piece” and does not require an apostrophe.
  4. Jim’s teacher said that you’re wrong.
    [“Jim’s teacher” is another way of saying “the teacher of Jim.” “Jim” is singular, so the possessive is made by adding an apostrophe and “s.”]
  5. She could never finish one of Dickens’s novels.
    [“Dickens” is singular; therefore, an apostrophe and “s”are added to make it possessive.]
  6. The dog growled and bared its fangs.
    [Here, “its” is possessive: “the fangs of the dog.” Possessive pronouns do not include apostrophes.]
  7. The boy’s father said the baseball was his son’s, but we knew it was ours.
    [Both “boy’s” and “son’s” are singular possessive forms (adding apostrophe and ”s” to the singular noun). “Ours” is a possessive pronoun and thus does not include an apostrophe.]
  8. The Simpsons’ television is a central part of their lives.
    [“Simpsons” is plural. Therefore an apostrophe is added after the “s” that’s already there.]
  9. The sky’s the limit.
    [“Sky’s” is a contracted version of “sky is.”]
  10. After three days’ worth of work, they completed the project.
    [The rules for this type of expression follow those for forming possessives. “Days” is plural, so an apostrophe follows the existing “s.”]

 


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