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Possessive Nouns: The right way to Use Them, With Examples

A possessive noun is a noun that exhibits possession, normally recognized by ’s. For instance, within the phrase the scholar’s notes, the phrase scholar’s is a possessive noun, exhibiting that the notes belong to the scholar. 

Some elements of possessive nouns may be complicated, similar to make a noun ending in s possessive, or what the right possessive type of plural nouns is. Under, we clarify the whole lot it’s good to learn about possessive nouns, together with possessive noun examples. However first, let’s reply the query “What does possessive imply?”

What’s possessive kind? 

Earlier than we get into the specifics of possessive nouns, let’s outline possessive normally relating to grammar. The possessive case is used to indicate possession of one thing (Sanjay’s cellphone) or a direct connection to one thing (Sanjay’s sister). 

Let’s take a look at some examples in an precise sentence. 

  • Aiguo grabbed his hat from Tony’s automobile. 

There are two possessives on this sentence. The possessive adjective his, which displays Aiguo, exhibits possession of the hat. The possessive noun Tony’s, which is recognized by the ’s on the finish, exhibits that the automobile belongs to Tony. 

What’s a possessive adjective?

Like possessive nouns, possessive adjectives additionally present possession or direct connection. Possessive adjectives correspond to the English pronouns, matching individual, gender, and quantity

   Singular     Plural
   First Particular person    my    our
   Second Particular person    your    your
   Third Particular person    his, her, their, its    their


Moreover, the possessive adjective whose acts because the possessive type of the relative pronoun who, and it will probably introduce relative phrases and clauses. 

Not like the possessive nouns under, possessive adjectives do not use apostrophes. That is particularly pertinent for the possessive adjective its, which is notoriously confused with the contraction it’s, which means it is

On this information we focus particularly on possessive nouns, so we received’t discuss a lot about these possessive adjectives. We thought it’d be useful to incorporate them right here only for comparability. 

What’s a possessive noun?

Possessive nouns are nouns that present possession or a direct connection. Usually, singular possessive nouns use an apostrophe ( ’ ) and the letter s on the finish of the phrase to take the possessive kind. Nearly any noun can change into possessive, even summary nouns.

  • canine -> canine’s
  • Maria -> Maria’s
  • the Empire State Constructing -> the Empire State Constructing’s 

Pay shut consideration to that apostrophe: in English, we additionally add s to the top of phrases to make them plural. So the apostrophe can decide whether or not a noun is possessive or plural, as within the case with boys versus boy’s. In these examples, boys means a couple of boy (plural), however boy’s means one boy has possession over one thing (singular possessive). 

Possessive nouns are adopted by the item of the possessive. On this possessive instance, the desk is the factor that Kali owns as a result of it comes instantly after the possessive noun:  

 In different phrases, Kali owns the desk. The thing of the possessive is the primary noun after the possessive noun, normally instantly afterward. Nonetheless, you possibly can nonetheless embody some adjectives to explain the item of the possessive. 

You can too present possession or connection with out possessive nouns through the use of the preposition of:

On this case, the proprietor (Kali) is the item of a prepositional phrase with of, and the factor that’s owned (the desk) comes first. When utilizing this building, you do not want an apostrophe or the letter s

There are 4 sorts of possessive nouns: singular possessive nouns, plural possessive nouns, possessive pronouns, and irregular possessive nouns. We focus on every individually, together with possessive noun examples. 

Singular possessive nouns

Essentially the most fundamental type of possessive nouns is the singular possessive noun. These are normal singular nouns that change into possessive by including an apostrophe and the letter s

[singular noun] + [’s]

Nouns that finish in s, particularly correct nouns, could cause quite a lot of confusion. Nonetheless, it’s OK so as to add an ’s after an s, so long as the noun is singular (the boss’s chair). 

Understand that this contains each mass nouns and collective nouns. Mass nouns are nouns which are uncountable and don’t have a plural kind, like sand or cash. Collective nouns are singular nouns that symbolize a number of issues, like group or household

Singular possessive noun examples

  • Carlos’s faculty
  • group’s captain
  • love’s labor

Plural possessive nouns

Plural nouns are harder to make possessive as a result of they have already got an s on the finish. As you possibly can see by the plural possessive examples under, the right building is so as to add solely an apostrophe to the top. 

[plural noun] + [ ’ ]

That is the best way for plural nouns that finish in s, though correct nouns and basic nouns that finish in s, similar to class or Carlos, nonetheless use ’s. Nonetheless, irregular plural nouns, like kids, do not at all times use this building (see under). 

Plural possessive noun examples

  • bottles’ shelf
  • groups’ match
  • three years’ expertise

Possessive pronouns

Possessive pronouns seek advice from the noun type of pronouns that present possession. Like common pronouns, they’re used instead of different nouns to keep away from repetition. 

Not like different possessive nouns, possessive pronouns don’t come earlier than the item of the possessive. Often, what the pronoun refers to is talked about earlier, and we use the possessive pronoun as a substitute of repeating the unique phrase. 

   Singular    Plural
   First Particular person    mine    ours
   Second Particular person    yours    yours
   Third Particular person    his, hers, theirs    theirs


Watch out to not confuse possessive pronouns with the possessive adjectives talked about above. Possessive pronouns act as nouns, not adjectives. You have to use them as nouns. 

Possessive pronouns examples

  • I don’t have a calculator. Can I borrow yours
  • I want I had hair like hers
  • Sarah’s parking spot is nearer than mine is. 

Irregular possessive nouns

Not all nouns take a plural kind by including s. Irregular plural nouns, like kids or tooth, every have distinctive plural types. The possessive type of irregular plural nouns will depend on whether or not or not they already finish in an s

  • If the irregular plural noun has an s on the finish, add solely an apostrophe. 
  • If the irregular plural noun does not have an s on the finish, add each an apostrophe and an s

Irregular possessive nouns examples

  • geese’s flock (singular: goose’s flock)
  • wolves’ den (singular: wolf’s den)
  • heroes’ feast (singular: hero’s feast)

Possessive noun guidelines

The right way to kind possessives with two or extra nouns

What if one thing is owned by a couple of individual? There are two methods to deal with possessives with a number of nouns, often called compound possessives. The proper technique will depend on whether or not the nouns relate to the identical factor or whether or not they every relate to various things. 

If a number of nouns personal or connect with the identical object, solely the final one within the collection is possessive. 

If a number of nouns every personal completely different variations of the identical factor, make every separate noun possessive. 

  • science instructor’s and artwork instructor’s rooms
  • America’s and Canada’s political insurance policies

Discover how, in these examples, the objects of the possessive are additionally plural (rooms and insurance policies) as a result of there’s a couple of. 

The right way to kind possessives with hyphenated and compound nouns

Hyphenated and compound nouns can appear tough, however they’re really fairly easy. In the event that they’re singular, simply add an apostrophe and an s to the ultimate phrase. 

  • trash can’s lid
  • mother-in-law’s cooking

If the nouns are plural with an everyday s on the finish, add solely an apostrophe to the ultimate phrase. 

  • information blogs’ articles
  • X-rays’ photos

Nonetheless, if the phrase is plural with out an s on the finish, add each an apostrophe and an s to the ultimate phrase. 

  • mothers-in-law’s behaviors

The right way to add emphasis with the adjective

Use the adjective personal earlier than the item of the possessive so as to add a particular emphasis. This turns out to be useful if you wish to draw consideration to the connection or possession to higher talk your which means. 

  • Abel’s personal brother betrayed him! 
  • Napoleon’s personal mansion is now a nationwide museum. 

Possessive noun FAQs

What’s a possessive noun?

A possessive noun is a noun kind used to indicate possession or a direct connection. It’s generally acknowledged by the apostrophe and letter s on the finish, as in Charlotte’s net or the tree’s branches

What are the completely different sorts of possessive nouns?

There are 4 sorts of possessive nouns: singular possessive nouns (one canine’s bone), plural possessive nouns (many canine’ bones), possessive pronouns (bones of theirs), and irregular possessive nouns (the wolves’ bones). 

When do you have to use possessive nouns?

Possessive nouns are used to indicate possession or a direct connection, normally coming instantly in entrance of the item of possession. Alternatively, you possibly can present possession with the preposition of, as in the bone of the canine



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