Learn English Grammar: Lesson 16 – Possessive Forms of Nouns

There are two ways to show the possessive of nouns in English. One way is with an apostrophe and the letter s (‘s). The other way is with the preposition of. Consider the differences between these two possessive forms.

For people:

  1. A singular noun that does not end in -s: add ‘s
  • the boy has a book = the boy’s book
  • the boy has books = the boy’s books
  1. A plural noun that ends in -s: add (apostrophe)
  • the boys have one book = the boys’ book
  • the boys have many books = the boys’ books
  1. An irregular plural noun: add ‘s
  • the children have a book = the children’s book
  • people have opinions = people’s opinions
  1. A name that ends in -s: add ‘s
  • Chris has a laptop = Chris’s laptop
  • Charles has two bikes = Charles’s bikes

For things:

  1. Use of instead of ‘s
  • a table has a top = the top of the table
  • a book has a title = the title of the book
  1. Exceptions: We use ‘s for time words and nature words
  • Today’s newspaper is on the table.
  • The sun’s rays provide us with warmth and vitamin D.

Learn English Grammar: Lesson 17 (Part 1) – Subject-Verb Agreement