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Elementary Rules of Usage by W. Strunk Jr. and E.B. White - Form the possessive singular of nouns by adding " 's ".

Follow this rule whatever the final consonant.  Thus write,

Charles's friend

Burns's poems

the witch's malice

Exceptions are the possessives of ancient proper names ending in -es and -is, the possessive Jesus', and such forms as for conscience' sake, for righteousness' sake.  But such forms as Moses' Laws, Isis' temple are commonly replaced by the laws of Moses and the temple of Isis.

The pronominal possessives hers, its, theirs, yours, and ours have no apostrophe.  Indefinite pronouns, however, use the apostrophe to show possession (ex. one's rights, somebody else's umbrella).

A common error is to write it's for its, or vice versa.  The first is a contraction, meaning "it is."  The second is a possessive.


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