Possessive ‘s

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Welcome to your Possessive ‘s lesson! In this topic we talk about:
• Apostrophe + S
Possessives with Singular and Plural Nouns
Possessives with Objects and Ideas
Possessives with Companies, Organisations and Places
Possessives with Time Expressions
Take the quizzes when you’re ready! If you’re having problems, use the comment box to contact our English Teachers.

Apostrophe + S

We use ‘s mostly for animals and people:

Bob’s phone isn’t working.”

“Have you seen my wife’s umbrella?”

“Could you fill the cat’s bowl, please?”

It is also possible to use ‘s without a noun following it:

“This isn’t my car, it’s my brother‘s.”

Sometimes, we don’t use ‘s, but use “of” instead. This happens when the noun is too long:

“What was the name of the man who called yesterday?”
(“the man who called yesterday’s name” is too long)

Note that we also use this form when talking generally about places or objects.

“Men‘s trousers.” Trousers for men.

“A girl‘s name.” A name for a girl.

“A bird‘s nest.” A nest for a bird.

Possessives with Singular and Plural Nouns

With singular nouns, we use ‘s:

“My mother’s dog.”
(her dog)

“Mr Smith’s house.”
(his house)

With plural nouns, we put an apostrophe at the end of the noun:

“My parents’ dog.”
(the dog that belongs to my parents)

“The Smiths’ house.”
(the house that belongs to the Smiths)

If a plural noun does not end in s, we use ‘s:

people’s party a children’s book women’s shoes a men’s magazine

Possessives with Objects and Ideas

For things (as apposed to people or animals) we normally use “of”:

the name of the hotel the door of the lift the owner of the car the page of the book

We also use this form with beginning, middle, and end:

“I’ll see you at the beginning of the month.”
(not “at the month’s beginning.”)

“I left in the middle of the film.”
(not “in the film’s middle.”)

“I enjoyed the end of the story.”
(not “the story’s end.”)

Possessives with Companies, Organisations and Places

You can use either ‘s or “of” when you talk about companies and organisations:

“The firm‘s idea.” “The idea of the firm.”

“The government‘s proposal.” “The proposal of the government.”

Most of the time, you can also use either ‘s or “of” when you talk about places:

“France‘s president.”  “The president of France.”

“The town‘s population.”  “The population of the town.”

Possessives with Time Expressions

You mostly use ‘s when talking about time expressions:

“Do you have today’s newspaper?”

“Are you watching tonight’s episode?”

“Do you still have Monday’s paper?”

We also use this form when talking about periods of time:

“We have a week’s holiday coming up.”

“The shop is only a five-minute’s walk away.”

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