Download PDF

How to Use the Possessive ‘S Correctly

How to use the Possessive ‘S correctly

We use apostrophes before or after -s to show possession in English.

1. Singular

Add s to the noun.

  • Seans brother Jake plays football.
  • A womans hat.

2. Plural

Add the apostrophe to regular plural forms:

  • The boys’ room is very nice.
  • The Browns’ house is large.

3. Irregular Plural

Add ‘s to irregular plural forms:

  • The childrens toys are on the floor.
  • Mens toilets are on the first floor.

If there are multiple nouns and they share possession, add s only to the last noun:

  • Sean and Jakes mother is an accountant.

If there are multiple nouns and they do not share possession, add s to both nouns.

  • Seans and Jakes mothers are accountants.

4. Singular names ending in -s

The style used in many newspapers is to add a -‘s to common nouns ending in s, but only a stand-alone apostrophe to proper nouns ending in s.

Examples:

  • The bosss wife
  • Mr. Jones’ golf clubs
  • The classs timetable
  • Charles’ house

The are no agreed rules on this so the main thing is to be consistent in how you do this.