Apostrophes Exercise (639)

For each sentence, determine whether the use of an apostrophe is correct.

Answers and Explanations

1.
Original: After an arduous journey of many days, we at last came to lands’ end.
Correct : After an arduous journey of many days, we at last came to land’s end.

The puzzling apostrophe error in the company name Lands’ End (which oddly refers to the end of more than one land) may encourage this mistake in a generic reference to a point of land nearly surrounded by water.

2.
Original: We picked up some produce at the farmers’ market.
Correct : We picked up some produce at the farmers’ market.

Unless the reference is to a market operated by a single farmer, the plural possessive is correct. (Some writing guides, including the "Associated Press Style Book," advise that an apostrophe is unnecessary—"farmers market" is a market for farmers—but "The Chicago Manual of Style" prefers "farmers’ market.")

3.
Original: I’ll give you a head’s-up if I hear anything about it.
Correct : I’ll give you a heads-up if I hear anything about it.

No possession is implied in the hyphenated noun phrase "heads-up"; it refers simply to heads being raised as if in response to a stimulus.

4.
Original: We haven’t met each other’s family yet.
Correct : We haven’t met each other’s family yet.

Because "other’s" applies to one person juxtaposed with another, the singular-possessive apostrophe placement is correct. The reference is to each person in regard to the other, so "other’s" is a singular possessive.

5.
Original: It’s still not clear to me who’s story I’m supposed to believe.
Correct : It’s still not clear to me whose story I’m supposed to believe.

"Who’s" would be correct here if the sentence ended differently, as in "It’s still not clear to me who’s in charge here," where "who’s" is a contraction of "who is" rather than the pronoun "whose."

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