Possessives (2023)

Contents | Index| Previous | NextWhen a student submits written work to a professoror to a law firm, no mistake will stand out more or create a more negativeimpression of that student's work than the mistaken use -- or nonuse --of apostrophes. It is therefore critical that you master these simple,yet often-confused, rules for creating possessives. In any case, the thresholdinquiry is whether the noun "owns" something: if it does, a possessiveform is required.

1. In singular possessive terms,place the apostrophe before the "s." This will indicate ownership by oneperson or thing. For example:

Incorrect:The schools collection included an original set of Blackstone's Commentaries.
Incorrect:The schools' collection included an original set of Blackstone's Commentaries.
Correct:The school's collection included an original set of Blackstone's Commentaries.

2. In plural possessive terms, placethe apostrophe after the "s." This will indicate to the reader that morethan one person or thing owns the thing possessed.

Incorrect:The students success was largely attributable to their hard work and dedication.
Incorrect:The student's success was largely attributable to their hard work and dedication.
Correct:The students' success was largely attributable to their hard work and dedication.

3. How to distinguish "its" and "it's."

(Video) Possessive Singular Nouns

"Its" is a possessive, as in the sentence,"The truck lost its muffler as it entered the pothole-laden Kennedy Expressway."This is the rare case in which a possessive term does not take an apostrophe.

"It's" is the contraction of "it is," asin the sentence, "It's best not to question the judge's knowledge of thelaws of evidence in open court." In formal writing, however, one generallyshould not use contractions. Thus, the better formulation of the sentenceabove would be: "It is best not to question the judge's knowledge of thelaws of evidence in open court."

"Its'" is not a word and is a logical impossibility.The word "it" is a singular pronoun. It therefore has no plural possessiveform at all. As noted above, the singular possessive form of "it" is "its."

(Video) Chris Brown - Possessive (Audio) ft. Lil Wayne, BLEU

4. A less-often faced decision involvesthe use of apostrophes where multiple owners are named. Where two or morepeople own one item together, place an apostrophe before an "s" only afterthe second-named person. For example:

Incorrect:Bill's and Mary's car was a lemon, leading them to seek rescission of theircontract under the state's lemon law.
Correct:Bill and Mary's car was a lemon, leading them to seek rescission of theircontract under the state's lemon law.


However, when two or more people owntwo or more items separately, each individual's name should take the possessiveform. For example:

Incorrect:Joanne and Todd's cars were bought from the same dealer; both proved useless,even though Joanne's car was an import and Todd's was a domestic model.
Correct:Joanne's and Todd's cars were bought from the same dealer; both proveduseless, even though Joanne's car was an import and Todd's was a domesticmodel.
5. If a singular noun ends in an "s,"use "'s" to create the possessive form only if the noun ends in a "s" sound.However, if the noun ends in a "z" sound, use just an apostrophe withoutadding an additional "s." This produces a more pronounceable possessive.
Correct:The car in question was Roger Weiss's red convertible.


Also Correct:

(Video) The Possessives | English Grammar & Composition Grade 4 | Periwinkle

I wasa student in Professor Abrams' Torts class.

6. If a plural noun ends in an "s,"it is preferable to use only an apostrophe -- and not an additional "s"-- to create the possessive. Of the three formulations presented below,the first most clearly and concisely indicates a plural possessive.

Correct:The car in question was the Weisses' red convertible.


Less Desirable:

The carin question was the Weiss's red convertible.


Also Undesirable:

(Video) Possessive Nouns | Award Winning Possessive Noun Teaching Video | What are Possessive Nouns

The carin question was the Weisses's red convertible.

7. Do not use an apostrophe to createthe possessive of the pronouns his, hers, theirs, yours, ours, or its.

Incorrect:The responsibility for the bills was yours' and her's.
Correct:The responsibility for the bills was yours and hers.

8. Nonpossessive plural words donot require the use of an apostrophe. For example:

Incorrect:The lawyer's could generally be found after hours at the Hanover StreetBar and Grill. (The apostrophe here incorrectly indicates a singular possessive.)
Incorrect:The lawyers' could generally be found after hours at the Hanover StreetBar and Grill. (The apostrophe here incorrectly indicates a plural possessive.)
Correct:The lawyers could generally be found after hours at the Hanover StreetBar and Grill. (The lack of an apostrophe here correctly indicates a plural,nonpossessive term.)

Cross Reference: Apostrophes

(Video) Possessives Song, Possessive Nouns, Apostrophe Usage by Melissa | Award Winning Educational Song

Possessives (1)to your browser to complete the exercise.

FAQs

What are examples of possessives? ›

A possessive word is a word that shows who or what something belongs to. For example, in the phrase Sarah's dog, Sarah's is a possessive word because it tells us the dog belongs to Sarah. In the phrase monkey's office, monkey's is a possessive word. It tells us the office belongs to the monkey.

What are 10 possessive examples? ›

Possessive Pronouns: Used in Sentences
  • The kids are yours and mine.
  • The house is theirs and its paint is flaking.
  • The money was really theirs for the taking.
  • We shall finally have what is rightfully ours.
  • Their mother gets along well with yours.
  • What's mine is yours, my friend.
  • The dog is mine.
  • The cat is yours.

What are the 7 possessive nouns? ›

As their names imply, both possessive adjectives and possessive pronouns show ownership. The independent possessive pronouns are mine, ours, yours, his, hers, its, and theirs.

What are possessives in English grammar? ›

The possessive form is used with nouns referring to people, groups of people, countries, and animals. It shows a relationship of belonging between one thing and another. To form the possessive, add apostrophe + s to the noun. If the noun is plural, or already ends in s, just add an apostrophe after the s.

Can you give me 5 examples using possessive pronouns? ›

5 Examples of Possessive Pronouns in Sentences

The dog is mine.” The possessive pronoun “mine” replaces the phrase “my dog,” which would make the sentence repetitive. 2. “The donation was ours.” The possessive pronoun “ours” implies plural ownership of the donation. 3.

What are the 7 possessive adjectives? ›

Possessive adjectives are my, your, his, her, its, our, their.

What are 5 examples of possessive adjective? ›

The most commonly used possessive adjectives are my, your, his, her, its, our, their, and whose. In order, these adjectives correspond to the pronouns I, you, he, she, it, we, they, and who. As their name suggests, possessive adjectives are often used to express possession or ownership.

What are 5 possessive adjectives? ›

The possessive adjectives that are used in the English language are: my, your, our, its, her, his, and their; each one corresponds to a subject pronoun.

How do you write a possessive sentence? ›

To form the possessive, add apostrophe + s to the noun. If the noun is plural, or already ends in s, just add an apostrophe after the s.
...
Examples
  1. Shall we go to Luigi's for lunch?
  2. I've got an appointment at the dentist's at eleven o'clock.
  3. Is Saint Mary's an all-girls school?

What is a possessive noun list? ›

Possessive nouns are nouns that show ownership or a direct connection. Typically, singular possessive nouns use an apostrophe ( ' ) and the letter s at the end of the word to take the possessive form. Almost any noun can become possessive, even abstract nouns.

What are the 3 rules of possessive nouns? ›

  • • Rule 1: To form the possessive of a singular noun, add an. apostrophe and s ('s) = car = car's.
  • • Rule 2: To form the possessive of a plural noun ending in s, add only an apostrophe (')= dogs = dogs'
  • • Rule 3: To form the possessive of a plural noun that does. not end in s, add an apostrophe and s ('s) = mice =

How do you teach possessives? ›

“Just take a few simple steps: Tell kids that possessive nouns show ownership. When a word ends with an apostrophe and an s, that person, place, or thing owns something. Explain that the singular or plural noun must first be written in its entirety.

What is an example of possessive case? ›

See the following examples: This is Mary and her dog. The dog is Mary's pet; Mary is not the dog's pet. This thick curtain is capable of shutting out the summer sun's heat and light.

What are the 15 example of possessive pronoun? ›

Pronouns: possessive (my, mine, your, yours, etc.)
personal pronounpossessive determinerpossessive pronoun
Imymine
you (singular and plural)youryours
hehishis
sheherhers
4 more rows

What are the 20 example of pronoun? ›

Pronouns are classified as personal (I, we, you, he, she, it, they), demonstrative (this, these, that, those), relative (who, which, that, as), indefinite (each, all, everyone, either, one, both, any, such, somebody), interrogative (who, which, what), reflexive (myself, herself), possessive (mine, yours, his, hers, ...

What are the 10 examples of personal pronoun? ›

I, you, he, she, it, we, they, me, him, her, us, and them are all personal pronouns.

How do you write a possessive adjective? ›

The possessive adjectives are my, our, your, his, their, her, and its. Examples of Possessive Adjective: My computer is not working as fast as it worked in the beginning. Our father told us not to quarrel with anyone.

Where do possessive adjectives go in a sentence? ›

The possessive adjectives are my, your, his, her, its, our, their, and whose. A possessive adjective sits before a noun (or a pronoun) to show who or what owns it. For example: Where is Jane?

What is an example of possessive pronoun sentence? ›

A possessive pronoun is a pronoun that is used to express ownership or possession. For example, the word hers is a possessive pronoun in the sentence Charlotte noticed that Seth's dog was bigger than hers.

What is an example of a possessive plural sentence? ›

We use these plural possessive pronouns to indicate plural ownership. The example sentences are from the plural possessive pronoun list above: • Our books, mine and Jim's, were on the top bookshelf. The pencils on the table are ours. Your backpacks are in the beige aluminum closet.

How do you teach a possessive S to beginners? ›

To start with, sit down with your child and give him a pile of something (blocks, snack, candy, books, etc.). Give yourself a pile as well. Point to your child's pile and say “whose is this?” Have your child say his name with the plural 's (like “Andy's”). Then, point to your own pile.

What are plurals and possessives? ›

When there is more than one of a noun, it is plural. The majority of nouns are made plural by adding an "s" to the end, though as with so many things in the English language, there are exceptions (e.g., tooth and teeth). A noun is possessive when it shows ownership or possession of something.

What are three examples of possessive determiners? ›

A possessive determiner is a pronoun that is used to express possession or belongingness. It helps the reader know who or what owns the noun that it determines. Possessive determiners include pronouns such as 'my', 'your', 'our', 'his', 'her', 'their' and 'its'.

What are the two types of possessive? ›

There are two types: possessive pronouns and possessive determiners. We use possessive determiners before a noun. We use possessive pronouns in place of a noun: Is that [determiner]your scarf?

How do you know if a possessive noun is singular or plural? ›

Singular possessive nouns are formed by adding apostrophe s to singular nouns. Plural possessive nouns are formed by adding an apostrophe to plural nouns ending in s, and by adding an apostrophe s to plural nouns that do not end in s. Plural nouns that are not possessive do not have an apostrophe in them.

How do you use plural possessive nouns in a sentence? ›

Plural possessives indicate when there is more than one of a noun and show ownership of something. The possessive of most plural nouns is formed by adding an apostrophe only: Alice had two kittens. When they were playing in the kitchen, the kittens' toy went under the refrigerator.

How do you write two possessive nouns? ›

If multiple nouns possess the same thing, add the apostrophe and “s” after the final noun. For example, if both Drew and Pearl own a car together, it's “Drew and Pearl's car.”

Videos

1. Possessive Nouns
(Elizabeth Widmann)
2. Introduction to the possessive | The Apostrophe | Punctuation | Khan Academy
(Khan Academy)
3. Possessive Nouns - It’s all about the Apostrophe! | Grammar For Kids | Roving Genius
(Roving Genius)
4. Possessive pronouns | The parts of speech | Grammar | Khan Academy
(Khan Academy)
5. Possessive adjectives and pronouns
(GoEnglish)
6. Apostrophes for Possession | Possessive Nouns | EasyTeaching
(EasyTeaching)
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