Where did the practice of using apostrophes for possessive nouns but not pronouns originate?

Where did the practice of using apostrophes for possessive nouns but not pronouns originate?

For example, possessive nouns (both proper and common) are written with a apostrophe before the final s:

  • Bill’s, not Bills
  • Sarah’s, not Sarahs
  • the bear’s, not the bears
  • the lizard’s, not the lizards

On the other hand, several possessive pronouns do not have apostrophes before the s:

  • his, not hi’s
  • hers, not her’s
  • its, not it’s
  • theirs, not their’s
  • ours, not our’s
  • yours, not your’s

When and where did this usage originate? Was there any technical advantage of this usage?

Answer

It has nothing to do with possesive nouns and pronouns, and the use of the apostrophe here is consistent. An apostrophe appears wherever one or more letters have been removed.

Classically, we’d have written “Johnes things”, instead of “John’s things”. So the apostrophe marks the absence of the letter E. This is why it does not appear in words like “hers” or “theirs”.

Attribution
Source : Link , Question Author : ctype.h , Answer Author : Carl Smith

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