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Hi, I'm Heather Kamins for About.com, and I'm here to talk to you about how to use an apostrophe.

How to Use an Apostrophe

Apostrophes have two primary uses: possessives and contractions. Possessives are phrases like, Tom's bike or the teacher's classroom - to show that something belongs to someone else. If you're not sure if something is a possessive, turn the phrase around, so my mother's car becomes: the car of my mother.

The second primary use of apostrophes is contractions, where the apostrophe stands in for the missing letters. So, do not contracts to don't. For the word it's, only use the apostrophe if it's a contraction - not a possessive. So, only if you can substitute "it is."

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