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Apostrophes for Pluralization

We add s to nouns to make them plural: She runs with her dogs every morning. Adding an apostrophe before an s (her dog’s) to make a noun plural is not just a bad idea; it’s incorrect! Attention, sign makers everywhere!


  • Reading let’s us understand other people.
  • He kept seven cat’s in his home.
  • All the neighbor’s sat around in folding chair’s, watching the firework’s.


To write about more than one item, the primary rule is to add only –s. For words ending in s, x, z, ch, ss, or sh, you’ll need to add –es. Neither needs an apostrophe. This rule includes numbers (we lived there in the ’90s), multiple uppercase letters (one can never have too many CDs), and names (three Susans). A word that is also a contraction, such as let’s (let us) requires just a moment’s thought.


The rule for apostrophe usage with pluralization is simple: no apostrophes! The only exception is made for clarity when you write about lowercase single letters: Mind your p’s and q’s; there are four a’s in Athabaskan; and you’ll need two m’s in dilemma. The Oakland A’s would also appreciate that apostrophe.

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