As a non-native speaker of English, understanding the difference between ‘s and s’ can be a challenge. At first glance, they may seem interchangeable, but in reality, they have different functions and uses. In this thorough guide, we will explore the distinctions between ‘s and s,’ how to use them correctly, and some commonly made errors to avoid.
So, let’s dive in!
The primary difference between ‘s and s’ is simple: ‘s is used to indicate possession, whereas ‘s is used in contractions and to indicate omission. For example:
– Possession: “That is John’s car.”
– Contraction: “It’s a beautiful day.” (It is a beautiful day.)
– Omission: “Jeff will meet us at the theater at 7 p.m.” (Jeff will’s meet us at the theater at 7 p.m.)
Now let’s look at each function in more detail.
Possession with ‘s
The most common use of ‘s is to show possession or ownership. We use it to express who owns or possesses something. For example:
– “That is Mary’s book.”
– “The dog’s bark woke me up.”
– “Sam’s house is just around the corner.”
Note how we use an apostrophe and an ‘s’ at the end of the noun to indicate possession. This applies to both singular and plural nouns, as well as proper nouns (names of people, places, and organizations).
However, there are some exceptions to this rule. For instance, ‘s is not used to indicate possession with inanimate objects or concepts. We don’t say “the car’s wheels” or “the company’s profits” because these things don’t own anything. Instead, we say “the wheels of the car” or “the profits of the company.”
Contraction with ‘s
Another use of ‘s is to create contractions in the English language. A contraction is a shortened form of two words, where one or more letters are removed, and an apostrophe is used to show where the omitted letters were. For example:
– “It’s a beautiful day.” instead of “It is a beautiful day.”
– “I’m going to the store.” instead of “I am going to the store.”
– “You’re the best!” instead of “You are the best!”
Contractions are commonly used in both spoken and written English. They make language more concise, and they sound more natural than saying the full phrase. However, it’s important to note that not all contractions use ‘s. For example, “I’d” and “we’ll” use ‘d and ‘ll, respectively.
Omission with ‘s
Finally, ‘s can be used to indicate the omission of letters or words in speech or writing. It is a way of shortening a sentence by removing some words or letters but still retaining the meaning. For example:
– “Sally’s coming. Are you?” (Sally is coming. Are you coming too?)
– “Johnson’s won the election.” (Johnson has won the election.)
We use ‘s in these examples to replace the missing letters in the verb ‘is’ and the auxiliary verb ‘has.’ However, it’s important to note that this usage is informal and should be avoided in formal writing.
Common Errors with ‘s and s’
One of the most common errors people make while writing is confusing ‘s with s’. Here are some instances in which this happens.
Its vs. It’s
“Its” is a possessive pronoun meaning that something belongs to an object or animal. For example, “The dog chased its tail.” On the other hand, “it’s” is a contraction for “it is” or “it has.” For example, “It’s raining outside.”
Lets vs. Let’s
“Lets” is the third-person singular form of “let,” which means to allow or permit something. For example, “He lets his dog play in the garden.” Meanwhile, “let’s” is a contraction of “let us,” which is used to suggest a joint action. For example, “Let’s eat some pizza.”
Whose vs. Who’s
“Whose” is a possessive pronoun that indicates a person or thing that something belongs to. For example, “Whose coat is this?” Meanwhile, “who’s” is a contraction of “who is” or “who has.” For example, “Who’s coming to the party tonight?”
In conclusion, understanding the difference between ‘s and s’ is critical to using correct English in written and spoken communication. Use apostrophe-s (‘) when indicating possession, use ‘s to create contractions or omit letters, and use s’ to indicate possession with plural nouns that end with an s. Remember that correct usage of these tiny marks can make a significant difference in clarity and comprehension. So, make sure you know and use them correctly.