Is it p's or ps? 2s or 2's? etc.?

If you want to say for example, "there are 7 r's/rs in that sentence", do you put an apostrophe there? Because every time I see that there's an apostrophe but why? It's just a plural so shouldn't it be rs not r's?

2 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    It is proper grammar to have the apostrophe. See Rule 11.

    Rule 1. Use the apostrophe with contractions. The apostrophe is always placed at the spot where the letter(s) has been removed.

    Examples: don't, isn't

    You're right.

    She's a great teacher.

    Rule 2. Use the apostrophe to show possession. Place the apostrophe before the s to show singular possession.

    Examples: one boy's hat

    one woman's hat

    one actress's hat

    one child's hat

    Ms. Chang's house

    NOTE: Although names ending in s or an s sound are not required to have the second s added in possessive form, it is preferred.

    Mr. Jones's golf clubs

    Texas's weather

    Ms. Straus's daughter

    Jose Sanchez's artwork

    Dr. Hastings's appointment (name is Hastings)

    Mrs. Lees's books (name is Lees)

    Rule 3. Use the apostrophe where the noun that should follow is implied.

    Example: This was his father's, not his, jacket.

    Rule 4. To show plural possession, make the noun plural first. Then immediately use the apostrophe.

    Examples: two boys' hats

    two women's hats

    two actresses' hats

    two children's hats

    the Changs' house

    the Joneses' golf clubs

    the Strauses' daughter

    the Sanchezes' artwork

    the Hastingses' appointment

    the Leeses' books

    Rule 5. Do not use an apostrophe for the plural of a name.

    Examples: We visited the Sanchezes in Los Angeles.

    The Changs have two cats and a dog.

    Rule 6. With a singular compound noun, show possession with 's at the end of the word.

    Example: my mother-in-law's hat

    Rule 7. If the compound noun is plural, form the plural first and then

    use the apostrophe.

    Example: my two brothers-in-law's hats

    Rule 8. Use the apostrophe and s after the second name only if two people possess the same item.

    Examples: Cesar and Maribel's home is constructed of redwood.

    Cesar's and Maribel's job contracts will be renewed

    next year.

    Indicates separate ownership.

    Cesar and Maribel's job contracts will be renewed next year.

    Indicates joint ownership of more than one contract.

    Rule 9. Never use an apostrophe with possessive pronouns: his, hers, its, theirs, ours, yours, whose. They already show possession so they do not require an apostrophe.


    Correct: This book is hers, not yours.

    Incorrect: Sincerely your's.

    Rule 10. The only time an apostrophe is used for it's is when it is a contraction for it is or it has.

    Examples: It's a nice day.

    It's your right to refuse the invitation.

    It's been great getting to know you.

    Rule 11. The plurals for capital letters and numbers used as nouns are not formed with apostrophes.


    She consulted with three M.D.s.


    She went to three M.D.s' offices.

    The apostrophe is needed here to show plural possessive.

    She learned her ABCs.

    the 1990s not the 1990's

    the '90s or the mid-'70s not the '90's or the mid-'70's

    She learned her times tables for 6s and 7s.

    Exception: Use apostrophes with capital letters and numbers when the meaning would be unclear otherwise.

    Examples: Please dot your i's.

    You don't mean is.

    Ted couldn't distinguish between her 6's and 0's.

    You don't mean Os.

    Rule 12. Use the possessive case in front of a gerund (-ing word).

    Examples: Alex's skating was a joy to behold.

    This does not stop Joan's inspecting of our facilities

    next Thursday.

    Rule 13. If the gerund has a pronoun in front of it, use the possessive form

    of that pronoun.

    Examples: I appreciate your inviting me to dinner.

    I appreciated his working with me to resolve the conflict.

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