When do you use apostrophe S and S apostrophe?

I was taught, growing up, that you only use apostrophe-S when it is a contraction as in "John’s going home" as in "John is going home" and S-apostrophe for possession. Was I taught incorrectly????? How do you distinguish between possession and contraction in the following sentence: " The man’s nuts." Does it mean "The man is nuts." ? Or is it reference to his testicles? How can you tell?????

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2 Responses to When do you use apostrophe S and S apostrophe?

  1. Barbara says:

    The apostrophe is used to indicate the omission of a letter or letters from a word, for instance, in a contraction: isn’t, didn’t, o’er, ’tis. It’s also used in the genitive case (possessive) of nouns. If the noun is singular, ‘s is used. (Exceptions: the sing. nouns Mars’ and Venus’,) If the noun is plural and ends with an s, North American practice is to simply place the apostrophe after the final s.

    In your example, The man’s nuts …., the apostrophe could be either a contraction or genitive case; only the sense of the complete sentence would enable you to distinguish which it is. If that is the entire sentence, then obviously the apostrophe represents a contraction.

  2. 。◕‿◕。 If You See Kay[te] says:

    You use ‘s if it is a contraction (it’s = it is) OR to show possession of a single noun (the dog’s bone)
    You use s’ if more than one noun owns something (the kittens’ mother)

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