When to use possessive apostrophes and close quotation marks Writing & Grammar

Hello everyone:

Here is something that my students struggle with all the time: possessive apostrophes and where in the world should they close a quotation mark. Let’s take them one at a time.

Possessive apostrophes are used to show someone or something owns something. They are not used when you want to show more than one of something.

Here is a case in point (or two): All of our workers will get an employees’ bonus. This means that everyone at the company is getting a bonus.

The next example is one employee getting a bonus: John was the only person to receive an employee’s bonus.

The next example has more than one employee, but no bonus: Employees are not going to get a bonus.

The next topic about where to end your quotation mark is relatively easy to figure out. Your in-text citation is NOT part of the quote. Only the quote is part of the quote, so end the quotation mark after the quote is finished.

(BTW, both APA and MLA formatting requires that you cite either the page or paragraph number with a direct quote.  That means, if there are no page numbers, you literally have to count the paragraphs that the article has and list the correct paragraph number. In a paper I once wrote, I had to count to paragraph number 100 and something, but it had to be done.

Hope this helps! If you have any questions, just post them as a reply to this posting and I will be happy to answer.


Dr. Sheri


Sheri Dean Parmelee has a Ph.D. in Communication Studies from Regent University. She writes books on practical tips for people who become unexpectedly unmarried and is working on her second novel in a series of contemporary romance/suspense novels. She teaches at three colleges, working with students from freshmen to graduate students. Her hobbies include running 8 miles a day and reading biographies and fiction.

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