A Good Night’s Sleep and an Apostrophe

Should you use an apostrophe when you write about “a good night’s sleep”? Yes.

You’ve probably heard a teacher say that an apostrophe signifies ownership. That statement is correct, but it’s only part of the apostrophe story.

Apostrophes signify “of” ideas. Mary’s car means “car of Mary.”¬†Dennis’ dog means “dog of Dennis.” And so on.

The apostrophe in “a good night’s sleep” means “sleep of a night.”

Time expressions often use apostrophes. A day’s pay means “pay of a day.” Two weeks’ vacation means “vacation of two weeks.” A moment’s delay means “delay of a moment.”

“Before the s or after the s?” If you take a minute to look at the example, you’ll have the answer: Spell the word (day, weeks, night, moment, Dennis, Mary) and put the apostrophe after the last letter.

Here they are again: Mary’s car, Dennis’ dog, a good night’s sleep, a day’s pay, two weeks’ vacation, a moment’s delay.

(To learn more about apostrophes, click here.)


Today’s Quiz ANSWER

Today’s¬†sentence is incorrect. Loose (rhymes with goose) means “not tight.” The word needed here is lose.

You’ll need that pass to get in tomorrow, so don’t lose it. CORRECT

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