Tap, tap tap,
There are two main uses for apostrophes:
1) Shortening tiny words
Use apostrophes to indicate a missing vowel in words like is, not, are, am, us
is gets shortened to Ã¢â‚¬â„¢s
are gets shortened to Ã¢â‚¬â„¢re.
am gets shortened to Ã¢â‚¬â„¢m
us get shortened to Ã¢â‚¬â„¢s
not gets shortened to nÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t
(Note: remember how not is shortened.)
Thus (and you must close the gap between the shortened word and the word before it) ...
ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s when you mean It is - never ItsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ or Its
(although Its is used to mean something different - about which more later).
TheyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re when you mean They are - never TheyrÃ¢â‚¬â„¢e or Theyre or, worse, Their or There (because Their and There both have completely different meanings).
WeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re when you mean We are - never WerÃ¢â‚¬â„¢e or, worse, Were
(because Were has a completely different meaning).
DonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t when you mean Do not - never DoÃ¢â‚¬â„¢nt, DontÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ or Dont
CanÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t when you mean Cannot - never CaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢nt or, worse, Cant
(because Cant has a completely different meaning.)
(Note: cannot is spelled cannot and not can not.
WerenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t when you mean Were not - never WereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢nt, WerentÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ or Werent
CouldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t when you mean Could not - never CouldÃ¢â‚¬â„¢nt or Couldnt
WhoÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s when you mean Who is - never WhosÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ or Whos or, worse, Whose
(because Whose has a completely different meaning).
ShouldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t when you mean Should not - never ShouldÃ¢â‚¬â„¢nt or Shouldnt
HadnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t when you mean Had not - never HadÃ¢â‚¬â„¢nt or Hadnt
IsnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t when you mean Is not - never IsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢nt or Isnt
ArenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t when you mean Are not - never AreÃ¢â‚¬â„¢nt or Arent
ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s when you mean That is - never ThatsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ or Thats
IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m when you mean I am - never ImÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ or Im
LetÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s when you mean Let us (as in LetÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s go shopping)
(Note: Lets has two completely different meanings. For example: He lets things slip through his fingers or even An estate agent lets flats to homeless people. So be careful about LetÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s and Lets.)
Has, Had, Have and Will, when shortened, lose the first two letters and become Ã¢â‚¬â„¢s Ã¢â‚¬â„¢d Ã¢â‚¬â„¢ve and Ã¢â‚¬â„¢ll. Would loses the first four letters and becomes Ã¢â‚¬â„¢d.
SomeoneÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s (Someone has or Someone is)
HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d (He had or He would)
TheyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve (They have)
SheÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll (She will)
You also use an apostrophe when something belongs to someone or something (called Ã¢â‚¬Å“PossessivesÃ¢â‚¬