An apostrophe and the letter s are used to indicate possession, including singular nouns ending with -s and plural nouns that do not end in -s. Possessives of plural nouns use an apostrophe without the letter s. Proper names ending in -s also use an apostrophe without the letter s.
  • apostle’s (one apostle)
  • apostles’ (more than one apostle)
  • the music class’ concert (singular noun ending in -s)
  • the children’s pastor (plural noun not ending in -s)
  • C. S. Lewis’ books (proper noun ending in -s)

In the case of Jesus, Moses and ancient names ending in -es, it is better to reword the sentence to avoid the possessive as indicated.
  • Jesus’ death and resurrection the death and resurrection of Jesus
  • Moses’ staff the staff of Moses
  • Xerxes’ army the army of Xerxes
  • Ramses’ dynasty the dynasty of Ramses

Avoid using possessives with long epithets; it is better to reword the sentence to avoid ambiguity.
  • The Apostle to the Gentile’s writings ... (ambiguous)
  • The writings of the Apostle to the Gentiles ... (clear)


Apostrophes are not used with the plurals of proper names.
  • keeping up with the Joneses

In general, apostrophes are not used when a single letter is made plural, although certain proverbial expressions are exceptions.
  • Learn your ABCs.
  • Dot your i’s and cross your t’s.

Academic degrees

Apostrophes are used with the plurals of academic and professional degrees when abbreviated with periods.
  • M.A.’s
  • M.Div.’s

Years and decades

Apostrophes are used to indicate decades.
  • the ‘60s
  • the ‘80s

Apostrophes are used when a year is abbreviated to two numerals.
  • class of ’99
  • Spirit of ‘76