Skip to content

Apostrophes KS2

Apostrophes for Possession KS2

Apostrophes for possession are used when the writer wishes to show that one thing belongs to (or is connected to) something. We call this type of apostrophe a possessive apostrophe.

Apostrophes for Possession KS2 (singular):

This is when something belongs to just one person or one thing. Here are some examples of singular possession -

The cat's tail was long.

The man's bag was made from leather.

The desk's surface was smooth.

The artist's name was Bob.


In all of the examples above, you can see that the singular nouns (cat, man, desk and artist) all require an apostrophe and an 's' to show posssession.


However, things are slightly different if the singular noun already ends in an 's'. If this happens, just an apostrophe is required. Here are some examples of this -

Charles' cat was cute.

Jess' jumper was woolen.

Ross' coffee was delicious.

James' flat was tidy.


In all of the examples above, the singular nouns (Charles, Jess, Ross and James) all end in an 's'. Therefore, to show possession, just an apostrophe is added.

Apostrophes KS2 banner
Apostrophes for Posession KS2 (plural):

This is when something belongs to more than just one person or thing. Here are some examples of plural possession -

The brothers' clothes were muddy.

The churches' spires were very tall.

The buses' lights were bright.


In all of the examples above, the plural nouns (brothers, churches and buses) all end in an 's'. Therefore, to show possession, just an apostrophe is added.


However, sometimes plural nouns do not end in an 's' and if this happens, an apostrophe plus an 's' needs to added. Here are some examples of this -

The men's cars were sporty.

The children's toys were broken.

The women's show was excellent.


In the examples above, the plural nouns (men, children and women) do not end in an 's'. Therefore, to show plural possession, an apostrophe plus an 's' is required.

Apostrophes for contraction example beach

Apostrophes for Contraction

So far, we have seen that apostrophes can be used to show possession. However, another use of apostrophes is to show you have omitted some letters when you are joining words together.

Here are some examples -

you + are = you're (the apostophe replaces the omitted 'a')

it + is = it's (the apostrophe replaces the omitted 'i')

I + will = i'll (the apostophe replaces the omitted 'w' and 'i')


In the examples above, you can see the apostrophe is used in place of the omitted letter or letters when forming a contracted form.


Sometimes, you will need to re-arrange letters a bit when you contract the word. Here are some examples -

will + not = won't


Using apostrophes for contraction in writing makes writing more informal and easier to read. It is particuarly useful when writing dialogue as people tend to use the contracted form when speaking informally.

How to teach Apostrophes KS2

Apostrophes will often first be introduced by the teacher deliberately 'noticing' them with their class when shared reading a text. Discussion will take place and other examples of apostophes for either possession or contraction will be noticed as reading continues. However, apostrophes will also require more deliberate, focussed teaching and here are some useful activities that teachers might use with their class:

  1. Worksheets - children could be given a base sentence that is missing a possessive apostrophe. Children might have to re-write the sentence so that the correct use of an apostrophe for possession is shown. Alternatively, sentences might contain two words that could be contracted using an apostophe.
  2. Matching game - Children could be given a set of cards. Half of the cards could have words which can be contracted presented as word sums (e.g. I + will, has + not etc) and on the other half could be the matching contracted forms (e.g. I'll, hasn't etc). Children could jumble the cards up and place them face down on the desk. Taking it in turns with their partner, children could select 2 cards. If they find a matching pair they keep them and earn a point. The player with the most matching pairs by the end of the game would win.
  3. Online games and activities - There are lots of useful online resources to help children learn how to use apostrophes for possession or contraction. The BBC has some really useful resources and the link is included below:
  1. Spelling lists - Children may be given contracted forms to learn at home and practised in the classroom using various methods. Children could then be tested on these with the teacher saying to children the two words which can be contracted using an apostrophe and seeing if children can write the contracted form correctly.
  2. Scavenger hunt - Taking learning outdoors is a great way to help deepen children's learning of key concepts. Displaying word sums around the playground and giving children the challenge of finding them all and writing their contracted form is a great way to get children to learn how to use apostrophes for contraction in a fun way. Alternatively, three sentences showing plural possession could be presented on each card and children might have to select which of the three shows correct use of an apostrophe.


Apostrophes KS2 Teacher

Apostrophes KS2 and the National Curriculum

Apostrophes are introduced to children in KS1 and then understanding of their use is further developed throughout KS2. By the time children leave primary education they are expected to have a good understanding of apostrophes for possession and apostrophes for contraction. This is what the National Curriculum says about apostrophes -


Year 2 - Apostrophes to mark when letters are missing in spelling and to mark singular possession in nouns.

Year 4 - Use of apostrophes to mark plural possession.

English Planning Pack - The Great Kapok Tree

English Planning Pack - Charlie and the Choloate Factory

English Planning Pack - Rumble in the Jungle

English Planning Pack - The Lighthouse Keeper's Lunch

FREE - UKS2 Punctuation Activities