We seem to have missed some basic lessons on apostrophes along the way, so we are doing some remedial work. Last week I printed out a set of sentences taken from some of their books and some old free reading and had them find and circle all the apostrophes and explain to me why they were used. This week we watched Mama writhe in pain over this:
And then we began working our way through this:
taken from The Project Gutenberg eBook, “Stops”, by Paul Allardyce
Read this very carefully.
LXXIV. The apostrophe is used to indicate that some letter or letters of a word are left out.
“E’er” for “ever,” “can’t” for “cannot,” “don’t” for “do not,” “‘gin” for “begin.”
LXXV. The apostrophe marks the possessive case of nouns. The following rules determine where it is to be placed:
Nouns in the singular number—
(1) The letter “s” is added, and the apostrophe is placed before it.
The king’s abode. A patriot’s reward.
Nouns in the plural number to show possession—
(1) The apostrophe is placed after the “s” of the plural.
Boys’ clothing. Our friends’ troubles.
(2) If the plural do not end in “s,” an “s” is added, and the apostrophe is placed before it.
Men’s opinions. The children’s pleasure.
Mom’s note: The apostrophe is NOT used just because a word has an s at the end, just because it is plural, or with pronouns such as its.
Put apostrophes where they belong with these sentences (all taken from James Fennemore Cooper’s book, The Deerslayer). You will have to read very carefully and think about it, because not every one of these sentences lacks an apostrophe.
- On the human imagination events produce the effects of time.
- Anger flashed from the giants eyes.
- The colony pays for wolves ears and crows heads.
- Each is good in its way, and the last is very good, when one has been in a spring as cold as the Glimmerglass.
- Finding nothing in either to induce a change of plan, he lay down, and prepared to catch a few hours sleep, that the morrow might find him equal to its exigencies.
- Theres my hand, and we will say and think no more about it.
- A hollow tree, that once been the home of bees, having recently fallen, the mother with two more cubs was feasting on the dainty food that this accident had placed within her reach; while the first kept a jealous eye on the situation of its truant and reckless young.
- The catamount is active I know, but its legs cant keep pace with a womans wishes.
- I rejoice to hear it; but as the sun is beginning to turn towards the afternoons sky, had we not better strike the trail again, and make forward, that we may get an opportunity of seeing these wonderful sisters?
10.…a hundred of the tender fancies that fleet through lovers brains beset his imagination and softened his heart.
11. Ah! Harry March, twould warm the heart within you to sit in their lodges of a winters night, and listen to the traditions of the ancient greatness and power of the Mohicans!
12. She supposed it was waiting to obtain some of the crumbs left from the late supper.
13. Everything is as snug as if it had been left in an old womans cupboard. Come, lend me a hand, Deerslayer, and well be afloat in half an hour.
14. The fame of Judiths beauty had spread among those who could travel the wilderness, as well as the highway by means of old eagles nests, rocks, and riven trees known to them by report and tradition.
15. Yes, many is the meal Ive swallowed in Tom Hutters cabins; and Hetty, though so weak in the way of wits, has a wonderful particular way about a frying-pan or a gridiron!
16. Her voice, however, was low and husky, instead of having its former clearness and animation.
17. “Have the Governors or the Kings people given this lake a name?” he suddenly asked, as if struck with a new idea.
18. “Tisnt right, Judith, for children to talk of their parents sins. We had better talk of our own.”
19. “Nor widows tears, nor tender orphans cries
Can stop the invaders force;
Nor swelling seas, nor threatening skies,
Prevent the pirates course:
20. While the young Indians were fastening the rope, he wondered if Chingachgook would have been treated in the same manner, had he too fallen into the hands of the enemy.
21. Whats the mans history and nature?
22. They lay within a days march of the inhabited parts of the country.
23. There was a little steel in her temper, its true.
24. When the colonys laws, or even the Kings laws, run against the laws of God, they get to be unlawful, and ought not to be obeyed.
25. He came up into these regions, thinking that the kings cruisers could never cross the mountains, and that he might enjoy the plunder peaceably in the woods.
26. Put your paddle in the water, and send the canoe in, to that log; Ill land and cut off the creatures retreat up the point, be it a Mingo, or be it a muskrat.”
27. “The Delawares call me Deerslayer, but its not so much because Im pretty fatal with the venison as because that while I kill so many bucks and does, Ive never yet taken the life of a fellow-creature. They say their traditions do not tell of another who had shed so much blood of animals that had not shed the blood of man.”
28. All the Delawares tell me that, as courage is a warriors first virtue, so is prudence his second.
29. Now thats Judiths character to a ribbon!
30. Deerslayer laid his hand on the stock of his rifle as soon as he noted this proceeding, but it was quite as much with a hunters habit as from any feeling of alarm.
31. “Ill bet every skin I take this season, Jude isnt trusting her pretty little feet in the neighborhood of that black mud. The gals more likely to be braiding her hair by the side of some spring, where she can see her own good looks, and collect scornful feelings against us men.”
32. “You over-judge young women—yes, you do, Hurry—who as often bethink them of their failings as they do of their perfections. I dare to say this Judith, now, is no such admirer of herself, and no such scorner of our sex as you seem to think; and that she is quite as likely to be sarving her father in the house, wherever that may be, as he is to be sarving her among the traps.”
33. “Its a pleasure to hear truth from a mans tongue, if it be only once in a girls life,” cried a pleasant, rich, and yet soft female voice, so near the canoe as to make both the listeners start. ”
34. As this was said, a singularly handsome and youthful female face was thrust through an opening in the leaves, within reach of Deerslayers paddle.
P.S. The FYB says that #10 is a moot point because lovers do not have brains, ergo they connot be said to possess them, so there should be no apostrophe at all.
P.P.S. There are other rules, yes. I deleted them. I told my kids that there are other rules, but we are starting from square one and basically just doing these two for right now- contractions, and possessives, as my two are really struggling with remembering the rules for plural possessives are not to be applied for mere plurals. We’ll work on just a few of the above sentences a day this week, with much discussion about why, and then later we’ll add the other rules, one at a time.