Apostrophe: can you hear the difference? [e.g. brother's / brothers]

< Previous | Next >


New Member
Hello, I have tried to learned English in the recent weeks and , naturally enough , I have met some problems . Here is the checklist

When you talk in everyday english can you hear the differences between these expressions, My brothers' souls and My brother's souls , I know they are pronounced the same way, but they have completely diffrent meanings, so yeah if you can't hear the difference,does not that create problems in normal daily speech? ? hehe yes it is from Ed sheeran's I see fire. I love the song , but when I began studying the text , it seemed that some words and phrases were spelled wrong and in the worst case another word. Many of you are probably English, so I was wondering , does this often happens that English people can not understand each other ;)) here is another exampel

( Watch the flames burn AUBURN on
The mountainside
Desolation comes upon the sky ) and

(Keep watching over Durin's son)
(Keep watching over Durin sons)
(Keep watching over Durin's sons)

( Watch the flames burn ON AND ON
The mountainside
Desolation comes upon the sky )

I think the last one sounds more correct in these phareses. but it is very many diffrent versions out their, which I find very annoying

I like English as a language , but if people do not understand each other, well it's not particularly good one. hope you all understood what I meant by all this, and please check out the song and tell me what you think
I really hope you can take the time to reply . :)) )
  • owlman5

    Senior Member
    I can't help you with the spelling problems you found in that source, radoy6. I can tell you that fluent English-speakers generally rely on context to help them distinguish between words like "books" and "book's" that sound alike.


    Senior Member
    English UK
    Hello radoy6 - welcome to the forums!

    To answer the question highlighted in the title of your thread:
    No, there's no difference in pronunciation between "s", "apostrophe-s" and "s-apostrophe". So, for example, boys, boy's and boys' all have exactly the same pronunciation. As owlman says, it's the context - in speech - which tells us which is meant; and if it isn't clear, we ask for clarification.

    As regards the lyrics of songs, people often have difficulty working out what the singer is actually saying:cool:. Let's take, for example, the line in Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody: "Spare him his life for this monstrosity". People have interpreted this in a wide range of ways, including (my favourite) "spare him his life for his pork sausages".

    It's also true that song lyrics often make little sense in English: issues of rhyme and metre take precedence over meaning. I suspect that in the song you're thinking of the words are "Watch the flames burn auburn". But I really don't know:(.
    Last edited:


    Senior Member
    There is a common misspelling of its (the possessive adjective) as it's (as in the contraction for "it is"), and then there is the greengrocer's apostrophe, in which an apostrophe is incorrectly added to make a plural, as in apple's. Then there are spellings such as 4's/4s, DVD's/DVDs, CD's/CDs, in which both spellings are correct. There are even cases in which a one-syllable word ending in a sibilant is made possessive by adding simply an apostrophe (boss'), even though it is pronounced the same as the possessive with an apostrophe-s (boss's), that is, as two syllables. See an example in edited prose here.
    A few days following my discharge from hospital, I went to word and resigned despite my boss' insistence that I should stay....
    In all of these cases, the pronunciation of each pair of variant spellings remains uninfluenced by the apostrophe.


    Senior Member
    Also, if you are looking up lyrics on lyric sites, please be aware that the vast majority of them have no editor or reviewer. Anyone can post anything. They are not authoritative sources of information.
    < Previous | Next >