Possessive Nouns



In this lesson, we will learn

  • how to use possessive nouns
  • the rules for forming possessive nouns
  • possessive singular nouns and possessive plural nouns
Related Topics: More Lessons for English

What are Possessive Nouns?

Possessive nouns are nouns that show “relationships”

1. Possessive nouns can be used to show 'belonging to' or 'ownership'.

Examples:

This is Jill’s house. (Jill owns the house)

They were not able to find Paul’s shoes. (The shoes belong to Paul)

The cat’s dish is empty.

The lamp's base is broken.

 

2. Possessive nouns can show where someone works or studies or spends time.

Examples:

I went to Jack’s school.

Put this box in Colin’s office.

 

3. Possessive nouns can indicate family relationships

Examples:

Gordon’s mother is a dentist.

He went with Brian’s brother.



General Rules for Forming Possessive Nouns

Rule 1:

Add an apostrophe s (‘s) to form the possessive of singular nouns. This rule also applies to singular nouns ending in s.

Examples:

Singular Nouns

Possessive Nouns

lamp

lamp’s

egg

egg’s

branch

branch’s

mango

mango’s

Paul

Paul’s

Simon

Simon’s

goose

goose’s

woman

woman’s

leaf

leaf’s

lady

lady’s

bus

bus’s

class

class’s



Rule 2:

Add an apostrophe s (‘s) to form the possessive of plural nouns that do not end with s.

Plural Nouns

Possessive Nouns

geese

geese’s

oxen

oxen’s

women

women’s

children

children’s

 

Rule 3:

Add an apostrophe () to form the possessive of plural nouns that end with s.

Plural Nouns

Possessive Nouns

lamps

lamps’

eggs

eggs’

branches

branches’

mangoes

mangoes’

leaves

leaves’

ladies

ladies’

buses

buses’

classes

classes’



Rule 4:

For the names of people that end with s, add an apostrophe s (‘s) or apostrophe (). (Both methods are acceptable)

Names of People that ends with s

Possessive Nouns

Phyllis

Phyllis’s or Phyllis’

Thomas

Thomas’s or Thomas’

Jones

Jones’s or Jones’

 

Rule 5:

Add an apostrophe s (‘s) or apostrophe (‘) to the end of a compound noun.

Compound Noun

Possessive Noun

classroom

classroom’s

classrooms

classrooms’

fire engine

fire engine’s

fire engines

fire engines’

son-in-law

son-in-law’s

son-in-laws

son-in-laws’



Videos

The position of the apostrophe in a noun (to indicate possession of something) often causes problems for learners. The following video explains the rules for singular and plural possessive nouns.



Possessive Nouns for Kids






Possessive Nouns



Possessive Singular Nouns and Possessive Plural Nouns
Separate and Joint ownership






Grammar Tip – Possessive Noun
Here's how to use the apostrophe to make nouns possessive. It's really not difficult once you memorize the few simple rules in this video.



This video shows how to use possessive nouns - singular and plural






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