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Showing Possession (#1), by Dennis Oliver

 

There are several common ways of showing possession
in English. The most common one is through use of
the
apostrophe ( ' ):

1.  

Make most singular nouns possessive
by adding
's:

John's car
the boy
's room
my friend
's father
my neighbor
's car

     
2.  

If a singular noun ends in s or ss, it's
possible to add
's, but many people
feel that adding
only an apostrophe
looks better and is clearer--especially
if the noun ends in
ss:

Dennis's car / Dennis' car
Charles
's children / Charles' children
Russ
's room / Russ' room
Bess
's father / Bess' father

     
3.  

If a noun is plural and ends in s, make it
possessive by adding only an
apostrophe:

the boys' room
my parents
' jobs
the students
' opinions
his brothers
' names

     
4.  

For common words with irregular
plurals, add 's:

the children's toys
women
's gymnastics
men
's clothing

 

Special Notes:

1.  

Possessives for words ending with s are
pronounced the same if they use
's or ':

Dennis's / Dennis' = 'Dennisuz'

Charles's / Charles' = 'Charlesuz'

Russ's / Russ' = 'Russuz'

Bess's / Bess' = 'Bessuz.'

     
2.  

Singular possessive nouns ending with 's
and plural possessive nouns ending with
s'
also have the same pronunciation:

your son's / your sons' =
the same pronunciation

the neighbor's / the neighbors' =
the same pronunciation

my brother's / my brothers' =
the same pronunciation

     
3.  

For singular / plural nouns, adding 's or '
can change meanings:

his son's room = the room belonging to
his son

his sons' room = the room belonging to
his sons

the neighbor's children = the children
of only one neighbor

the neighbors' children = the children
of two or more neighbors

     
4.  

The combination 's doesn't always show
possession:
's can also mean is or has.
To know which meaning is intended,
look at the words following
's:

Mary's father ( 's shows possession )

Mary's intelligent ( 's = is )

Mary's working hard. ( 's = is )

Mary's been there many times. ( 's = has )

Mary's had problems. ( 's = has )

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