Possessive Nouns in English! What is a possessive noun? The following lesson explains how to properly use possessive nouns in English with grammar rules and examples.
What Is A Possessive Noun?
Possessive nouns are those nouns that show possession. Possessive Nouns are used to show ownership.
A noun is possessive only when a phrase can be modified to say that an idea or commodity belongs to something or someone. Possessive nouns are an integral part of learning English, use them as often as you can to gain confidence.
Possessive Nouns Rules & Examples
Here are some rules to help you use possessive nouns:
Rule 1: In singular nouns (person, place, thing or idea), we add apostrophe and ‘s’ after the noun.
- Rachel’s car is in the garage. (Car belonging to Rachel is in the garage)
Note that the possessive noun always comes before what the person or a thing owns or has. In this case, the car belongs to Ron and hence the singular noun ‘Ron’ is placed before ‘car’ that he owns.
Rule 2: In singular nouns ending with ‘s’, we add an apostrophe and ‘s’ to the noun.
- Tom’s notebook is lying on the table. (Notebook of Tom is lying on the table)
- John’s wife is a doctor. (Wife of John is a doctor)
Rule 3: In singular nouns ending with ‘s’ followed by a word starting with ‘s’, we just add an apostrophe to the noun. This is to avoid a hissing sound.
Possessive nouns examples:
- Tejas’ school is in Malviya Nagar.
- Suhas’ sister is a teacher.
Rule 4: In plural nouns (ending with ‘s’), we add apostrophe after ‘s’.
- Students’ report cards are ready.
- Girls’ dance classes have been postponed.
In the first one, the plural of ‘student’ is ‘students’. To show that the report cards belonging to the students are ready, we simply add apostrophe after ‘s’.
Similarly, in the second sentence, the plural of ‘girl’ is ‘girls’. To show that the dance classes which the girls attend have been postponed, we add apostrophe after ‘s’.
Rule 5: In irregular plural nouns (men, children) we add apostrophe and ‘s’ to show possession.
Possessive nouns examples:
- Children’s clothes are expensive. (Clothes of children are expensive)
- People’s mindset needs to be changed. (Mindset of people needs to be changed)
In the first example, plural of ‘child’ is ‘children’. To show that the clothes belonging to the children are expensive, we add apostrophe and ‘s’ after children. The same rule applies to the second example as well.
Here are some more examples to show you other possible cases.
- Alex and Philip’s shop. (Two nouns are used closely and showing joint possession; here, the apostrophe will be used with the second noun)
- Shakespeare’s and Wordsworth’s works. (Two nouns are used together yet separate possession is implied thus the apostrophe is used with both nouns)
Possessive Nouns in English | Infographic