I've just said to a friend "That cloud's looking very dark". And apparently that's not correct.

He said "it's" is allowed as an abbreviation but "cloud's" is never "cloud is".

He said 's is always ownership unless it's the word "it's".

But I find that in verbal speech, people use it like that all the time. E.g. "Oh that pineapple's looking juicy!" etc.

  • 3
    Of course they do. Your friend is mistaken in saying that it's 'not allowed'. – Kate Bunting Jun 17 at 15:41
  • 2
    You are right; your friend's wrong. – Michael Harvey Jun 17 at 15:42
  • 1
    It is not used in non-dialogue writing. As it's a spoken English thing, it can be written as well, but not in a formal context. – Lambie Jun 17 at 15:47
  • I’m voting to close this question because it's based on a false premise (the idea that there's something wrong with saying That cloud is very dark). – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica Jun 17 at 15:52
  • @MichaelHarvey: You are right; your [other] friend is wrong! – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica Jun 17 at 15:53

Verbally, people do this all the time, you're right about that.

I think whether it would (it's?) allowed in written speech depends a little on the thing being written. I wouldn't want to use that contraction in anything that was at all formal, but writing a personal letter to someone or relating dialog in a story of some sort, I would use the apostrophe that way.

The idea of a contraction (you have this question labelled 'possessive', but what we're actually discussing is contractions) is to use the apostrophe to denote that something has been left out. I've been known to use "I'd've" as a contraction for "I would have", which is also a way that some people speak.

I think saying that 's always denotes possession is a little too restrictive.

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