Miscellaneous - Lesson #9

Possessive nouns are used to show ownership and possession of something.

For a singular noun (one noun), we add an apostrophe and "s" to the end of the noun (‘s).We always need to put a noun after the possessive.
  • John's car is red.
  • Bill's shirt is cool.
  • Erin's book is old.
  • Derek's phone is broken.
  • Greg's motorcycle is not working.
  • John's dog will stay at my house for 2 days.
  • The company's products are high-quality.
  • The family's pets are cute.
Note: "Company" and "Family" have more than one person, but they are considered a single unit. So, they are singular nouns.

Here are some other ways that we can use possessives.

1. Body parts
  • Derek's hair is black and long.
  • Erin's skin is tan.
  • Mark's eyes are blue.
  • The dog's fur is brown.
2. Relationships and Connections
  • Mark's mother is kind.
  • Kim's teacher doesn't yell at the teacher.
  • Ben's boss always comes to work late.
  • Have you met Tim's girlfriend?
  • I will visit Jane's house.
3. Ideas, Opinions, Sense, and Other Things
  • Karen's idea was great.
  • Mark's opinion didn't make sense to me.
  • My family's happiness is the most important thing.
  • Tim's sense of humor is great.
Well, what about when it is not a singular noun? What if there is more than one person who owns a thing?

Let's go over some other rules for possessives.

For plural nouns, put the apostrophe at the end of the word (s'). We use this when more than one person owns a thing or a group of people has a similar thing.
  • The boys' dog is black.
    (Both boys own the dog.)

  • The sisters' shirts are cute.
    (They do not have the same shirt, but they each sister has a shirt and they are both cute.)

  • My parents' house is far from here.
    (My parents both live in the house.)
Irregular plural nouns are the same as singular nouns. Just add an apostrophe and "s" (‘s).
  • The people's voices could be heard from far away.
  • The men's clothing section is busy today.
  • The children's playroom is messy.
If two or more people own one thing and we use two or more names, then put the apostrophe and "s" after the second name.
  • Tim and Mary's house is white.
    (=Their house is white.)

  • Ben and Tim's dog is cute.
    (They own the dog together.)

  • Cory and Gary's computer is broken.
    (They share one computer.)
But, if two people own separate things and we use more than one name, then we need to put an apostrophe and "s" after both names. In this case, the noun that follows will always be plural.
  • Mark's and Tim's dogs are cute.
    (Mark's dog is cute. Tim's dog is cute. There are 2 dogs.)

  • Jon's and Sally's reports were excellent.
    (Jon's report was excellent and Sally's report was also excellent.)
These rules are only important when we are writing. When we are speaking English, we just need to make the correct sound. Make sure you are using possessives correctly when you are writing in English.