students, students' and students'

-1

Hello, I am having problems with the apostrophe in this word. My theory is that if there is a noun either before or after it then I need to do students' anyway I will cut and paste some sentences here:

 

I have applied my knowledge of students’ religious, cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds when I have planned my teaching and learning programs. Specifically, I had to consider the religious and cultural sensitivities of students’ that were from different backgrounds, and subsequently adjusting teaching content and learning activities.

 

I constructed classroom rules in collaboration with the students so they had a sense of ownership and group cohesion.  (I figure that there is no need for an apostrophe here because then next phrase doesnt have nouns)

 

Am I wrong? If someone could help me I would really appreciate it. I hate using that word.

2 answers


1

Katrina, you need to distinguish between plurals and possessives. The apostrophe is only used for possessives:

 

Students' backgrounds = the backgrounds of the students

The student's background = the background of the student

 

In all other cases, whether student(s) be the subject or object in the sentence, there is no need for an apostrophe. You distinguish between singular and plural by adding an s for the plural.

 

So, in your examples:

 

Correct: I have applied my knowledge of students’ religious, cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds . . .

 

Incorrect: I had to consider the religious and cultural sensitivities of students’ that were from different backgrounds, . . . (Here, you simply need the plural students. You should also use the pronoun who when referring to people instead of that.)

 

I had to consider the religious and cultural sensitivities of students who were from different backgrounds, . . .

 

Correct: I constructed classroom rules in collaboration with the students . . . 

link comment answered Oct 12 '12 at 11:13 Peter Guess Expert
1

In addition to Peter's fine comments, I would like to add --> the presence of a noun following student (or students) does not automatically make it a possessive. While it will never be a possessive if it is not followed by a noun (or a noun phrase), this pairing is not always a possessive.

 

Student can also be used as an adjective that modifies the following noun. For instance, I was once a student teacher. Or Student papers often include many grammar mistakes.

 

Let's look at this last example -- it means Papers by students (the general population of students) often include many grammar mistakes. However, if we wish to talk about a specific group of students, we might use the definite article (the) and the plural possessive -- "The students' papers often include ..." Or , if we want to tal about a single student -- "The student's paper included many grammar mistakes."

 

I hope this helps.

link comment answered Oct 12 '12 at 14:10 Jeff Pribyl Grammarly Fellow

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