Possessive Nouns: Forming the Possessive Noun with Easy Examples

Possessive nouns can be a tricky topic for many language learners. They are essential for expressing ownership and relationships between people, places, and things. In this article, we will explore what possessive nouns are, how to form them, and provide examples to help you better understand their usage. So, let’s dive in and uncover the secrets of possessive nouns!

What Are Possessive Nouns?

Possessive Nouns! What is a possessive noun? Learn how to form Possessive Nouns in English with useful grammar rules and example sentences.

What is a possessive noun? A possessive noun is a noun that names who or what owns or has possession of something. They are often formed by adding an apostrophe and the letter “s” to the end of a noun. For example, “the dog’s bone” shows that the bone belongs to the dog.

In most cases, for singular nouns to show that possession, we add an apostrophes. For plural nouns we simply add an apostrophe except for those few plural nouns that do not end in s.

It is important to note that not all possessive nouns follow this rule. For instance, when a noun already ends in “s,” you simply add an apostrophe to the end to make it possessive. For example, “the boss’ office” is correct, even though there is no additional “s” after the apostrophe.

Possessive Nouns Examples:

  • The car’s front seat
  • Bartkowski’s book
  • Babies’ shoes
  • Lemons’ acidity
  • Owls’ eyes

Possessive Nouns | Forming Rules

When creating the possessive form of nouns, there are 5 simple rules as follows:

Forming singular nouns possessive

If a singular noun, add ‘s.

  • The girl’s hands were chapped by the cold.
  • The cat’s toy was missing.

Even if the singular noun is a proper noun (i.e. a name), add ‘s.

  • Richard’s attempts to solve the problem were rewarded.

If names ending in s, you can either add an apostrophe + s, or just an apostrophe. The first option is more common. When pronouncing a possessive name, we add the sound /z/ to the end of the name.

  • Charles’s car (or Charles’ car)
  • Chambers’s house (or Chambers’ house)
  • Chris’s exam (or Chris’ exam)

Forming plural nouns possessive

If a noun is plural in form and ends in an s, add an apostrophe only.

  • The tables’ legs were all wobbly and needed repair.
  • Cherries’ stones can break your teeth if you are not careful.
  • People are prepared to pay high prices for designers’ clothes.

If a plural noun does not end in s, add ‘s.

  • The children’s clothes were brand new.
  • The prices of men’s shoes run from £30 to £90.

Indicating possession when two nouns are joined together

If there is joint possession, use the correct possessive for only the possessive closest to the noun.

  • Clinton and Gore’s campaign was successful.
  • I didn’t come to Mr. and Mrs. Smith’s wedding.
  • Carol and Susan’s car is out of gasoline.

Indicating possession when two nouns are joined, and ownership is separate

If there is a separate possession of the same noun, use the correct possessive form for each word.

  • Susan’s and Beth’s books are full of useful information.
  • The car’s and the bicycle’s owners could speak French perfectly.

Making hyphenated or compound nouns possessive

With hyphenated or compound nouns, use the correct possessive form for the word closest to the noun. Avoid possessives with compound plurals.

  • My daughter-in-law’s gift is a diamond necklace.
  • The English teacher’s method is very effective.
  • Your neighborhood letter carrier’s job is more difficult than you imagine.

Irregular plural possessive nouns

Irregular plural nouns are nouns that do not follow the typical rules of pluralization. Similarly, irregular plural possessive nouns are not formed in the usual way.

To form the possessive of an irregular plural noun, add an apostrophe and an “s” at the end of the word. For example, the plural of “child” is “children.” Therefore, the possessive of “children” is “children’s.”

Here are some more examples of irregular plural possessive nouns:

  • Women: Women’s
  • Men: Men’s
  • Children: Children’s
  • Geese: Geese’s
  • Deer: Deer’s

It is important to note that some irregular plural nouns do not change when they become possessive. For instance, “sheep” is both the singular and plural form of the noun, and its possessive form is “sheep’s.”

Common Mistakes with Possessive Nouns

Confusing Plural and Singular Possessive Nouns

One of the most common mistakes people make with possessive nouns is confusing plural and singular possessive nouns. For example, they might write “the dog’s” when they mean “the dogs'”. To avoid this mistake, it’s important to remember that singular possessive nouns use an apostrophe followed by an “s”, while plural possessive nouns use an apostrophe after the “s”.

Using Apostrophes Incorrectly

Another common mistake is using apostrophes incorrectly. For example, people might write “it’s” when they mean “its”, or “your” when they mean “you’re”. To avoid this mistake, it’s important to remember that “it’s” means “it is” or “it has”, while “its” is a possessive pronoun. Similarly, “you’re” means “you are”, while “your” is a possessive pronoun.

Forgetting the Apostrophe

Finally, one of the most common mistakes people make with possessive nouns is forgetting to use the apostrophe. For example, they might write “the dogs toys” instead of “the dog’s toys”. To avoid this mistake, it’s important to remember that possessive nouns always use an apostrophe to show ownership or possession.

Possessive Pronouns Vs. Possessive Nouns

Possessive pronouns and possessive nouns are two different types of words that show ownership or possession. While they may seem similar, they have different functions and uses in a sentence.

Possessive Pronouns

A possessive pronoun is a pronoun that shows ownership or possession of something. It replaces a noun and shows who owns or possesses something. The most common possessive pronouns are “mine,” “yours,” “his,” “hers,” “its,” “ours,” and “theirs.”

For example, instead of saying “the bone belongs to the dog,” one can say “the bone is his.” “His” is a possessive pronoun that replaces the noun “dog.” (In this case, the dog is referred to as he).

Differences between Possessive Nouns and Possessive Pronouns

The main difference between possessive nouns and possessive pronouns is that possessive nouns are used to show ownership of a specific noun, while possessive pronouns replace a noun and show ownership.

Another difference is that possessive nouns are always followed by a noun, while possessive pronouns can stand alone in a sentence. For example, “the dog’s bone” includes a possessive noun followed by a noun, while “the bone is his” includes a possessive pronoun standing alone.

In addition, possessive nouns are used to show ownership of both living and non-living things, while possessive pronouns are only used to show ownership of living things.

Singular & Plural Possessive Nouns | Images

Learn how to form Possessive Nouns in English with useful grammar rules and examples.

Possessive Nouns: Forming the Possessive Noun with Easy Examples 1