Possessive 'S' by Viv Quarry (www.vivquarry.com)


We mainly use possessive 's' with:


1. People


I stayed at my uncle's brother's house.


*1  I went to my parents' house last weekend.


*2 You can sleep in the children's room.


*3 The boss' decision / the boss's decision. (in both cases, the pronunciation is /BO SIZ/ )


2. Animals


Don't eat those! They're the dog's biscuits! (= 1 dog)


*1 Don't eat those! They're the dogs' biscuits! (= 2 or more dogs)


*2 The sheep's wool was very thick.


*4 The tiger opened its mouth.


3. In some time expressions


I 'm taking a month's holiday.


*1 They're giving me three months' salary.


Difficult cases


*1 With plural nouns, the apostrophe comes after the 'S' (see note 2 below).


*2 Unless the noun is an irregular plural noun.


*3 When a word ends in 's' you can either add 's or only an apostrophe.


*4 Possessive 's' with 'it' has no apostrophe (it's = 'it is' or 'it has')


We also use possessive 's with:

groups of people: the government's decision.

countries and continents: Britain's new parliament / Europe's economic problems

planets: the earth's core / the world's natural resources

companies: BP's profits


Apart from possessive 's', English also uses compound nouns and prepositional phrases:


We went to Copacabana Beach.

We kept the wine bottle. (= the empty bottle)

We bought a bottle of wine. (= it was full of wine)


Possessive 's' practice exercises

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