Lawrence Creaghan

When Not to Use an Apostrophe in Words Ending in “S”

Apostrophes can indicate missing letters in a word, such as sou’wester. In this case, it’s the shortened version of southwester.

Apostrophes can also denote possession, like in Sylvia’s book. The apostrophe indicates that the book belongs to Sylvia.

But you don’t need an apostrophe in a word ending in “s” when it’s used primarily as a description. Like in owners manual, teachers college, Montreal Canadiens goalie, chefs recipes, and doctors prescriptions.

The line between possession and description can be fuzzy sometimes. It’s a description if you can use for or by before the word…a manual for owners, a college for teachers, a goalie for the Montreal Canadiens, recipes by chefs, and prescriptions by doctors.

Easy Guide to Canadian Spelling