We usually use the Possessive 'S when we want to show that something belongs to somebody or something.


A. We use the Possessive 'S  especially when the first noun is the name of a person, group of people, organisation, country or animal.


In other cases we generally prefer a structure with OF.

Example:     The company's structure     But       The name of the game.

The dog's lead            But       The back of the bus.   


We usually add 's to a singular noun and an apostrophe '  to a plural noun.   For example: Stuart's car  / His parents' house.

Although we can use of to show possession, it is more usual to use possessive 's.

The following phrases have the same meaning, but number 2 is more usual and natural than number 1:

1)  the boyfriend of my sister   /   2)  my sister's boyfriend.


B. Proper Nouns (Names) :

We very often use possessive 's with names:

This is Mary's house.

Where is Dawn's mobile phone?

Who took Anthony's pen?

I like Matthew's girlfriend.

When a name ends in s, we usually treat it like any other singular noun, and add 's:

This is Charles's office.


C.  's after two names:

We saw Thomas and Julia's parents.   It means Thomas and Julia are brother and sister. We saw their parents.

We saw Thomas's and Julia's parents.   It means we saw Thomas's parents and Julia's parents.



D.  Irregular Plurals :

Some nouns have irregular plural forms without s      (man > men or   child > children).

To show possession, we usually add 's to the plural form of these nouns:


The child's toy The children's toys
The man's shoes The men's shoes
The mouse's cage The mice's cage
A person's suitcase People's suitcases


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


The doctor's,     The grocer's,    The vet's,   The newsagent's,    The chemist's,    John's,    The dentist's,    The baker's,     Saint Peter's,    Saint James's park.    


Shall we go to Brian's for dinner?

I've got an appointment at the dentist's at three thirty tomorrow.


F.  Exceptions

The possessive case is often used with the names of personified objects.

Nature’s laws

For God's sake!

At duty’s call

At wit’s end

The possessive case is also used with nouns denoting time, space and weight.

In a year’s time

A day’s work

At a stone’s throw

today's newspaper


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