Possessives

Hello, my dear readers.

Это мой блог. Это блог греммер тичера. Как это сказать?
 

А вот как.

Называется это все possessive case – притяжательный падеж – чье? Кому принадлежит?

  • Для того чтобы показать, что что-то кому-то принадлежит, мы используем possessive ‘s.
     
  • Апостроф + S = possessive ‘s
     
  • Мы просто добавляем ‘s к тому, кому принадлежит данная вещь.
  • Единственное число:
  • A ball belongs to a boy. The boy is Kyle.
  • It is a boy’s ball. It is Kyle’s ball.

Possessives

  • Anna's room: the room that belongs to Anna 
  • her mother's bedroom: the bedroom that her mother sleeps in
  • the dog's coat: the coat that the dog has 
  • the boy's bike: the bike that belongs to the boy 
  • the woman's shoe: the shoe that belongs to the woman
  1. Множественное число:
  2. Во многих случаях, множественное число = единственное число + s.
  3. Singular: boy. Plural: boys

Что же делать? Еще раз добавлять ‘s? А вот и нет.

Если у нас множественное число заканчивается на s, то мы не добавляем ‘s, а просто добавляем апостроф ПОСЛЕ самого слова.

Мячик принадлежит мальчикам – It is the boys’ ball.
Possessives

А если у нас irregular plural noun, например children? Он же не на S заканчивается. Поэтому после

него просто добавляем ‘s как обычно.

This is the children’s ball.
 

Here are some irregular plurals:
Possessives

А что делать, спросите вы, если само слово в единственном числе заканчивается на s? Например

James. Он один но заканчивается на S. Если слово в единственном числе заканчивается на S, все

  • равно добавляем ‘s.
     

Possessive Forms

Skip to Plural Noun Forms.

Showing possession in English is a relatively easy matter (believe it or not). By adding an apostrophe and an s we can manage to transform most singular nouns into their possessive form:

  • the car's front seat
  • Charles's car
  • Bartkowski's book
  • a hard day's work

Some writers will say that the -s after Charles' is not necessary and that adding only the apostrophe (Charles' car) will suffice to show possession.

Consistency is the key here: if you choose not to add the -s after a noun that already ends in s, do so consistently throughout your text. William Strunk's Elements of Style recommends adding the 's.

(In fact, oddly enough, it's Rule Number One in Strunk's “Elementary Rules of Usage.

) You will find that some nouns, especially proper nouns, especially when there are other -s and -z sounds involved, turn into clumsy beasts when you add another s: “That's old Mrs. Chambers's estate.” In that case, you're better off with “Mrs. Chambers' estate.”

There is another way around this problem of klunky possessives: using the “of phrase” to show possession. For instance, we would probably say the “constitution of Illinois,” as opposed to “Illinois' (or Illinois's ??) constitution.”

To answer that question about Illinois, you should know that most words that end in an unpronounced “s” form their possessive by adding an apostrophe + s. So we would write about “Illinois's next governor” and “Arkansas's former governor” and “the Marine Corps's policy.

” However, many non-English words that end with a silent “s” or “x” will form their possessives with only an apostrophe. So we would write “Alexander Dumas' first novel” and “this bordeaux' bouquet.

” According to the New York Public Library's Guide to Style and Usage, there are “certain expressions that end in s or the s sound that traditionally require an apostrophe only: for appearance' sake, for conscience' sake, for goodness' sake” (268).

Incidentally, the NYPL Guide also suggests that when a word ends in a double s, we're better off writing its possessive with only an apostrophe: the boss' memo, the witness' statement.

Many writers insist, however, that we actually hear an “es” sound attached to the possessive forms of these words, so an apostrophe -s is appropriate: boss's memo, witness's statement. If the look of the three s's in a row doesn't bother you, use that construction.

When we want the possessive of a pluralized family name, we pluralize first and then simply make the name possessive with the use of an apostrophe.

Thus, we might travel in the Smiths' car when we visit the Joneses (members of the Jones family) at the Joneses' home.

When the last name ends in a hard “z” sound, we usually don't add an “s” or the “-es” and simply add the apostrophe: “the Chambers' new baby.”

Many writers consider it bad form to use apostrophe -s possessives with pieces of furniture and buildings or inanimate objects in general. Instead of “the desk's edge” (according to many authorities), we should write “the edge of the desk” and instead of “the hotel's windows” we should write “the windows of the hotel.” In fact, we would probably avoid the possessive altogether and use the noun as an attributive: “the hotel windows.” This rule (if, in fact, it is one) is no longer universally endorsed. We would not say “the radio of that car” instead of “that car's radio” (or the “car radio”) and we would not write “the desire of my heart” instead of “my heart's desire.” Writing “the edge of the ski” would probably be an improvement over “the ski's edge,” however. For expressions of time and measurement, the possessive is shown with an apostrophe -s: “one dollar's worth,” “two dollars' worth,” “a hard day's night,” “two years' experience,” “an evening's entertainment,” and “two weeks' notice” (the title of the Hollywood movie nothwithstanding).

Remember that personal pronouns create special problems in the formation of possessives. See the chart of Noun and Pronoun Cases.

Possessives & Gerunds

Possessive forms are frequently modifiers for verb forms used as nouns, or gerunds. Using the possessive will affect how we read the sentence.

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For instance, “I'm worried about Joe running in the park after dark” means that I'm worried about Joe and the fact that he runs in the park after dark (the word “running” is a present participle modifying Joe).

On the other hand, “I'm worried about Joe's running in the park after dark” puts the emphasis on the running that Joe is doing (“running” is a gerund, and “Joe's” modifies that verbal).

Usually, almost always in fact, we use the possessive form of a noun or pronoun to modify a gerund. More is involved, however. Click HERE for further information about using the possessive form with gerunds.

Possessives versus Adjectival Labels

Don't confuse an adjectival label (sometimes called an “attributive noun”) ending in s with the need for a possessive. Sometimes it's not easy to tell which is which.

Do you attend a writers' conference or a writers conference? If it's a group of writers attending a conference, you want the plural ending, writers. If the conference actually belongs to the writers, then you'd want the possessive form, writers'.

If you can insert another modifer between the -s word and whatever it modifies, you're probably dealing with a possessive. Additional modifiers will also help determine which form to use.

  • Patriots quarterback Drew Bledsoe threw three touchdown passes. (plural as modifier)
  • The Patriots' [new] quarterback, Drew Bledsoe, threw three touchdown passes. (possessive as modifier]

Possessives of Plurals & Irregular Plurals

Most plural nouns already end in s. To create their possessive, simply add an apostrophe after the s:

  • The Pepins' house is the big blue one on the corner.
  • The lions' usual source of water has dried up.
  • The gases' odors mixed and became nauseating.
  • The witches' brooms were hidden in the corner.
  • The babies' beds were all in a row.

With nouns whose plurals are irregular (see Plurals), however, you will need to add an apostrophe followed by an s to create the possessive form.

  • She plans on opening a women's clothing boutique.
  • Children's programming is not a high priority.
  • The geese's food supply was endangered.

(But with words that do not change their form when pluralized, you will have to add an -s or -es.)

  • The seaweed was destroyed by the fishes' overfeeding.

Possessives

Holidays Showing Possession

A number of American Holidays have possessive forms, and are peculiarly inconsistent.

“Mother's Day” and “Father's Day” are easy enough, one parent at a time, and “Parents' Day” is nicely pluralized, as is “Presidents' Day” which celebrates the birthdays of both Washington and Lincoln.

“All Souls' Day (Halloween),” of course, takes a plural possessive. “Veterans Day” is plural but not possessive, for historical reasons shrouded in mystery. Martin Luther King Jr. Day has no possessive. “New Year's Day,” “St. Valentine's Day,” St.

Patrick's Day,” and “April Fool's Day” all have their singular prossessive form, and so, while we're at it, does “Season's Greetings.” Note that “Daylight Saving Time” is neither possessive nor plural.

Compound Possessives

When you are showing possession with compounded nouns, the apostrophe's placement depends on whether the nouns are acting separately or together.

  • Miguel's and Cecilia's new cars are in the parking lot. This means that each of them has at least one new car and that their ownership is a separate matter.
  • Miguel and Cecilia's new cars are in the parking lot. This construction tells us that Miguel and Cecilia share ownership of these cars. The possessive (indicated by 's) belongs to the entire phrase, not just to Cecilia.

Another example:

  • Lewis and Clark's expectations were very much the same. This construction tells us that the two gentlemen held one set of expectations in common.
  • Lewis's and Clark's expectations were altogether different. This means that the expectations of the two men were different (rather obvious from what the sentence says, too). We signify separate ownership by writing both of the compounded proper nouns in the possessive form.

When one of the possessors in a compound possessive is a personal pronoun, we have to put both possessors in the possessive form or we end up with something silly: “Bill and my car had to be towed last night.”

  • Bill's and my car had to be towed last night.
  • Giorgio's and her father was not around much during their childhood.

If this second sentence seems unsatisfactory, you might have to do some rewriting so you end up talking about their father, instead, or revert to using both names: “Giorgio and Isabel's father wasn't around much . . . .” (and then “Giorgio” will lose the apostrophe +s).

Possessives & Compound Constructions

This is different from the problem we confront when creating possessives with compound constructions such as daughter-in-law and friend of mine. Generally, the apostrophe -s is simply added to the end of the compound structure: my daughter-in-law's car, a friend of mine's car.

If this sounds clumsy, use the “of” construction to avoid the apostrophe: the car of a friend of mine, etc. This is especially useful in pluralized compound structures: the daughters-in-law's car sounds quite strange, but it's correct. We're better off with the car of the daughters-in-law.

See the section on Compound Nouns and Modifiers for additional help.

Possessives with Appositive Forms

When a possessive noun is followed by an appositive, a word that renames or explains that noun, the apostrophe +s is added to the appositive, not to the noun. When this happens, we drop the comma that would normally follow the appositive phrase.

  • We must get Joe Bidwell, the family attorney's signature.

Create such constructions with caution, however, as you might end up writing something that looks silly:

  • I wrecked my best friend, Bob's car.
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Possessives in English

Possessives

My cat’s name is Ginger.

When we want to show that something belongs to somebody or something, we can use possessives:

NOUN POSSESSIVE EXAMPLE
I my My name is Sandra.
you your Your new haircut looks great!
he his He broke his leg.
she her She sold her computer.
it its My car is old, so its engine isn’t very powerful.
we our Our apartment is on the fourth floor.
they their Candace and Marty named their baby girl Donna.
Mary Mary’s Mary’s phone number is 555-4321.
Joe Joe’s Joe’s favorite color is green.
the boy the boy’s The boy’s clothes are dirty.
parents parents’ My parents’ names are Patrick and Gloria.
cat cat’s My cat’s name is Ginger.
country country’s My country’s flag is red, white, and blue.

As you can see from its, cat’s, and country’s, it is not necessary to be a person in order to use a possessive. Here are more examples of using possessives with things:

  • Today’s meeting will be at 1 PM.
  • This website’s goal is to teach English.
    = The goal of this website is to teach English.
  • Who do you think this year’s skating champion will be?

Don’t confuse its (possessive) with it’s (contraction for “it is”)!

The cat ate it’s food
The cat ate its food.

Its illegal for a 17-year-old to buy alcohol.
It’s illegal for a 17-year-old to buy alcohol. 

Now, test your understanding of possessives in English with this quiz!

Learn more about this course

Possessives in English

Possession in English is expressed through possessive adjectives, possessive pronouns, and through the the possessive genitive, also called the Saxon genitive. The latter is a construction in English that does not exist in some other languages. If you need to review how to use possessives in English, this is the article for you.

The Saxon Genitive is used with the nouns for people, animals, countries, expressions of time, as well as the collective names for people and animals. It establishes a relationship of ownership or possession between two terms.

  • The Saxon genitive is formed by adding an apostrophe and an “s” to the name of the owner.
  • Examples
  • Robin’s car is green.
  • Julia’s dog is a beautiful westie.
  • My mum’s coat is brown.

If the name of the owner is plural, only the apostrophe is added. The same happens in the case of words that end with “s.

  1. Examples
  2. The sailors’ boat.
  3. My friends’ new home.
  4. Texas’ weather is unpredictable in the winter.
  5. In the case of proper names both constructions can be used.
  6. Examples

Mr. Jones’ cat is very old.

Mr. Jones’s cat is very old.

  • In compound names, the apostrophe and the “s” are added at the end of the last word.
  • Examples
  • My brother-in-law’s cousin.
  • My mother-in-law’s house is on the hill.
  • When there are several owners, the Saxon genitive rule is applied to the last name of the set.
  • Examples
  • Mario and Susan’s children attend primary school.
  • This is John and Jean’s car.
  • With collective names, the Saxon genitive is formed with an apostrophe and “s“.
  • Examples
  • People’s rights.
  • Women’s hair.

When the Saxon genitive is used for the name of restaurants, shops, schools, or churches, there is a difference of construction between British English and American English. The first requires the Saxon genitive with apostrophe and “s“, with the second leaves the name unchanged. In these cases, the name of the place (hospital, shop, restaurant, church) is implied.

Examples

British English

St. Mary’s is very ancient.

Are you coming to Paul’s for lunch?

American English

St. Mary’s is very ancient.

  1. Are you coming to Paul’s for lunch?
  2. When there are two cases of possessive in one sentence (the Saxon double genitive), it is interesting to pay attention to order of the words in the sentence, which may be reversed in relation to what happens in other languages.
  3. Examples
  4. This is John’s mother’s car.
  5. Take Emily’s sister’s book, please.
  • When the relationship expressed is between people and places
  • When the owner’s name is followed by a sentence
  • With nouns for inanimate objects
  • To express belonging for nouns for which the Saxon genitive is not applied, the possessive can be expressed with either a construction using the preposition “of“, or with a construction using possessive adjectives or pronouns.
  • Examples
  • The cover of the albumThe album cover
  • The door of the carThe car door
  • She is the wife of a maths teacher that works at my school.
  • The Queen of England.

One of the most frequent errors in possessive use is linked to the apostrophe. Remember not the use the apostrophe to form the plural of a noun.

  1. The Wilsons are my neighbors.
  2. Don’t forget that you must use an apostrophe in contractions.
  3. It’s my book!
  4. Don’t go out!

Another way to express possession is by using possessive adjectives and pronouns. In English, the possessive pronoun, is different from the possessive adjective. To avoid making mistakes, therefore, you should take care to memorize and learn to distinguish between them. Here is a table of the possessive pronouns and adjectives in English as well as some examples.

Person Adjective Pronoun
1st person singular my mine
2nd person singular your yours
3rd person singular masculine his his
3rd person singular femenine her hers
3rd person singular neutral its its
1st person plural our ours
2nd person plural your yours
3rd person plural their theirs

Examples

These are my keys. Those are yours.

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Our house is quite small. Hers is big.

Our clothing is elegant and smart. Theirs is casual.

Now you know the structure of the Saxon genitive and other ways to show possession in English. If you are interested in learning more about English grammar, you can try ABA English. We offer 144 grammar video classes to learn English both effortlessly and well. We also offer many short films so that you can learn to speak English naturally. What are you waiting for? Try one of our video classes today!

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It doesn’t matter what your level is. You can start at the beginning with our Beginners level and reach our Business C1 level. Every time you complete a level, you will receive an official ABA English certificate which you can share on LinkedIn.

Forming the possessive | English Grammar | EF

The possessive form is used with nouns referring to people, groups of people, countries, and animals. It shows a relationship of belonging between one thing and another. To form the possessive, add apostrophe + s to the noun. If the noun is plural, or already ends in s, just add an apostrophe after the s.

For 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.

Functions of the possessive

  • 'Belonging to' or 'ownership' is the most common relationship the possessive expresses.
  • The possessive can also express where someone works, studies or spends time
  • The possessive can express a relationship between people.
  • The possessive can express intangible things as well.

Fixed expressions

There are also some fixed expressions where the possessive form is used.

The possessive is also used to refer to shops, restaurants, churches and colleges, using the name or job title of the owner.

Examples of Possessive Nouns

A noun names a person, place, thing, idea, quality or action. A possessive noun shows ownership by adding an apostrophe, an “s” or both. To make a single noun possessive, simply add an apostrophe and an “s.”

  • Apple's taste
  • Book's cover
  • Boss's car
  • Cat's tuna
  • Computer's keyboard
  • Deer's antlers
  • Diane's book
  • Diabetes's symptoms
  • Fish's eggs
  • Fez's size
  • Florida's climate
  • Goddess's beauty
  • Gym's rules
  • House's roof
  • Jam's ingredient
  • Laundry's smell
  • Lawyer's fee
  • Marble's shape
  • Month's work
  • Moss's color
  • Progress's reward
  • Senator's vote
  • Sun's rays
  • Today's newspaper
  • Tray's usefulness
  • Tree's bark
  • Victor's spoils
  • Watermelon's rind

When a plural noun ends with an “s,” simply add an apostrophe to make it possessive. Here are examples of plural possessive nouns:

  • Americans' ideals
  • Babies' shoes
  • Cabbages' nutrition
  • Donors' cards
  • Eggs' color
  • Frogs' croaking
  • Garages' fees
  • Hampers' conditions
  • Igloos' construction
  • Inventions' popularity
  • Juices' flavors
  • Kites' altitudes
  • Lemons' acidity
  • Members' votes
  • Nuts' saltiness
  • Owls' eyes
  • Planets' orbits
  • Quizzes' difficulty
  • Recesses' measurements
  • Students' grades
  • Suspects' fingerprints
  • Teachers' qualifications
  • The Smiths' house
  • Unicorns' power
  • Violins' melody
  • Wagons' circle
  • Yokes' material

When a plural noun does not end with an “s,” add an apostrophe and an “s” to make it possessive. Here are examples of plural possessive nouns:

  • Cattle's pasture
  • Geese's eggs
  • Women's clothes
  • Children's toys
  • Mice's traps
  • People's ideas
  • Feet's toenails
  • Nuclei's form
  • Cacti's thorns
  • Octopi's legs
  • Oxen's diet
  • Die's roll
  • Lice's size
  • Hippopotami's strength
  • Fungi's location
  • Formulae's indication

Singular & Plural Possessive Pronouns

  • That is mine.
  • My car runs great.
  • His work is good.
  • Her diet is working
  • The bag is hers.
  • The house is ours.
  • I see your coat. (singular)
  • It is all yours. (plural)
  • Their smiles are welcome. (singular)
  • The fault is theirs. (plural)
  • Its name is The Tower.

Indefinite Possessive Pronouns

  • One – One's
  • Another – another's
  • Anybody – anybody's
  • Each other – each other's
  • Each one – each one's
  • Nobody – nobody's
  • No one – no one's
  • Someone – someone's
  • Somebody – somebody's
  • Something – something's

Hyphenated or Compound Words

With hyphenated or compound words, only the last word shows possession.

Examples of singular possessive nouns:

  • My sister-in-law's advice
  • Notre Dame's tower
  • Yellowstone National Park's hours
  • Middle class's income
  • T-shirt's logo
  • Attorney General's job
  • Real estate's decline
  • Full moon's brightness
  • Mid-June's heat
  • Front-runner's confidence

Examples of plural possessive nouns:

  • Water-bottles' shape
  • Changing-rooms' door
  • Five-year-olds' excitement
  • Six packs' appeal
  • Half sisters' bedrooms
  • Post Offices' hours
  • Ex-wives' alimony
  • Bus stops' repair
  • Oil spills' costs
  • U-boats' stealth

Possessive Nouns Joined Together

  • Hansel and Gretel's adventure
  • Sonny and Cher's fame
  • Salt and pepper's flavors
  • Man and wife's vows
  • Jupiter and Saturn's atmospheres
  • Birds and bees' habits
  • Additives and spices' costs

Possessive Nouns Referring to Places, Churches and Universities

  • Saint Anthony's
  • The grocer's
  • The dentist's
  • Saint Mary's
  • The vet's
  • The chiropractor's
  • Domino's
  • McDonald's
  • Frankie's
  • Dillard's
  • Macy's

These examples of possessive nouns show the variety of formats used to add a possessive format to a noun.

American vs. British English

The format and rules for possessive nouns are slightly different between American and British English. For example, in American English the possessive case can be used with an inanimate object – the book's cover. However, in British English the possessive case cannot be used with an inanimate object. Instead the possession would be shown with “the book cover.”

Wedding rings and vows as examples of possessive nouns

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