If you are a parent of a child in primary school, you will probably be becoming aware of the increased focus on grammar and punctuation contained in the new National Curriculum. Your child’s school may have provided information about the new English grammar, punctuation and spelling tests which Year 2 and Year 6 children will be taking next summer. Depending upon when and where you went to school, you may find the information coming from school (and the terminology being used by your child) challenging.

Whether you are bewildered by the terminology used or just want to know a little more to support your child, I hope you will find this blog useful. You can click on the Parent’s Start Page to link to information about different areas of grammar and punctuation. Alternatively, enter a term in the search bar or click on a word in the cloud of labels. If you have further queries, get in touch and I will try to help where I can. You can also follow me on Twitter @grammarpuss13.

Monday, 4 April 2016

Using apostrophes to show singular possession

In Year 2, children will learn that an apostrophe + s ('s) is added to singular nouns to show possession: 

  • the dog's ball (the ball belongs to the dog)
  • the flower's petals (the petals belong to the flower)
  • the car's wheels (the wheels belong to the car)
You can help your child learn about using apostrophes in this way by using a picture of an animal or a vehicle, where you can name various parts.  First list the parts of the animal or vehicle they can see.



 tail    head    ears    whiskers    eyes    paws    nose


Discuss with your child how you can say that these parts belong to the cat.  Point to different parts and ask them to tell you 'the cat's tail', 'the cat's whiskers', etc.  When they can talk the picture, ask them to write the words.  If they write 'the cats tail', ask how many cats they can see.  How can we make sure the reader knows there is only one cat?  We use an apostrophe before the s.  If you print out the picture, or use one from a magazine, they could label the picture.

The process is usually the same for a proper noun that already ends in s.  Examples are Charles's car, James's book.  When possession is shown in this way, the additional s is pronounced.  For information on trickier apostrophes, click here.

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