1) used to indicate that a noun is possessive. Possessiveness indicates belonging to; you can tell if a noun is possessive if you can make it into an of phrase.
Bart took Lisa's saxophone. can be made into:
Bart took the saxophone of Lisa.
2) in cases of plural nouns ending in "s", the apostrophe follows the "s":
Maggie is the Simpsons' youngest child.
3) apostrophes are also used to indicate that something has been omitted.
Homer couldn't remember when he'd last gone a day without eating a donut.
stands for "could not"; he'd for "he had."
4) to abbreviate numbers
"The Simpsons" first aired in '89, as part of the Tracey Ullman show. Colons
1) use a colon after an independent clause to direct attention to a list, an appositive or a quotation.
She had a list of things to pick up for the party: chips, salsa, Coke, guacamole and tortillas.
There's one thing I can't stand in people: arrogance.
The rabbi Hillel summarized all the commandments in one sentence: "What is harmful to you, do not do to others."
2) use a colon between independent clauses if the second explains the first:
H.L. Mencken had an ironic understanding of conscience: he called it the inner voice that warns us that someone might be looking. Commas
1)used before a coordinating conjunction joining independent clauses they signal to readers that one clause has ended and another will begin:
Joey loved Dawson, but did not know how to tell him
2) used after an introductory clause or phrase they signal to readers that the main part of the sentence is coming: In a moment of weakness, Buffy found herself inviting the vampire in.
3) used to set off nonrestrictive elements in a sentence these are parts that aren't essential for understanding the sentence:
The sisters' house, which was a beautiful Victorian home, was built on an old graveyard.
Kate Hudson's mother, actress Goldie Hawn, was proud of her work in "Almost Famous."
4) used between items in a list:
It took some time for Phoebe, Pru, and Piper to accept the fact that they were witches.
5) used between coordinate adjectives not joined with "and". Coordinate adjectives modify a noun separately you can tell if they're coordinate if you can put an "and" between them. (By contrast, you can't put an "and" between cumulative adjectives, like "big blue marble."):
After the prom, Carrie blossomed into a confident, exuberant , social young woman. Dashes
1), to set off parenthetical material that deserves emphasis:
Everything about my date—from the fact that he picked me up late to the fact that he dropped me off late—annoyed my father.
2) to prepare for a list, a restatement, an amplification, or a shift in tone or thought:
They had a whole host of channels—HBO, MTV, WB, Nick—and still they couldn't find anything to watch. .
3) to set off appositives that contain commas:
Every last detail—the flowers, the dresses, the lighting—was attended to by the wedding planner. Hyphens
1) Use them to connect two or more words that are working together as an adjective, as in:
The trip was slowgoing; they were overtired and had to stop frequently on the side of the road to nap. 2) to spell out fractions:
He ate onefifth of the cake on his own.
3) hyphens follow the prefixes all, ex, self and with the suffix elect:
The mayorelect's preoccupation with his exwife was so allencompassing that it stripped away his selfimage. Parentheses
1) to enclose supplemental material, minor digressions , and afterthoughts:
The queen (who still appears on Canadian currency) no longer has significant j urisdiction in Canada.
From what I know of Canadians (I've met a couple on my travels), they're nice people.
Actually, I find Canadians to be very polite. (Did I already say that?) Semicolons
1) it goes between closely related independent clauses that aren't joined with a