I'm having difficulty understanding when to use students' vs students. I know you use students' when you're talking about more than one student. For example: "The students' homeworks were marked". However, when can you use students? Are they interchangeable. Could somebody tell me whether the following sentences is correct:

"Outside my formal education, I enjoy teaching and I’ve been tutoring students in A-Level Mathematics since starting my degree. Additionally, ... I started a scheme intended to help first year university students’ in their studies."

2 Answers 2


This is an example of English using the "apostrophe s" to signify possession. Basically:

student — singular noun: "The student did well on the exam."

students — plural noun: "The students did well on their exams."

student's — singular possessive adjective: "The student's performance was excellent."

students' — plural possessive adjective: "The students' exam scores were all fantastic!"

Adding the apostrophe s to a noun turns that noun into a possessive adjective, and it signifies that the noun it modifies belongs to the noun you used to form the possessive adjective.

If there is a book, and that book belongs to Jane, we can say that it is "Jane's book."

So, your corrected example should not have an apostrophe s in the final sentence.

To read more about apostrophes in English, you can look here.

  • So is the sentence correct: "Helping students progress above their expected grades has been an extremely rewarding aspect of my work" ? I'm a maths undergraduate planning to write a personal statement so you can imagine how bad my English is.
    – electro7912
    Oct 16, 2018 at 20:44
  • 1
    Grammatically it is correct. Stylistically, I would do some rephrasing. "...progress above their expected grades" sounds a little strange. I would recommend just saying, "Helping students improve..." Oct 16, 2018 at 20:45

For example: "The students' homeworks were marked"

Note: homework is a non-count noun, and is used with a singular verb. My homework was marked. Bill's homework was marked. The students' homework was marked. Everyone's homework was marked.

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