possessives: nouns


We use a noun with ’s with a singular noun to show possession:

We are having a party at John’s house.
Michael drove his friend’s car.

We use s’ with a plural noun ending in -s:

This is my parents’ house.
Those are ladies’ shoes.

But we use ’s with other plural nouns:

These are men’s shoes.
Children’s clothes are very expensive.

We can use a possessive instead of a noun phrase to avoid repeating words:

Is that John’s car?   No, it’s Mary’s [car]. > No, it’s Mary’s.
Whose coat is this?   It’s my wife’s [coat]. > It’s my wife’s.



Hi everyone......can anybody help me with this.....tel me if it's correct or not.....can i say, (that is a ladies shoe)

Hi joe,

This should probably be ladies' shoe, though after doing a quick search of the internet, I see many instances where just ladies shoes is used. The rest of the phrase is correct.

Best wishes,
The LearnEnglish Team

Hi there,

I was thinking that maybe it could be helpful for us learners if you'd specify all the other usages/situations when the possessive 's is used. I'm talking about countries or cities (London's squares); time expressions/adverbials (today's match); distance or weigh expressions (a 300 kilometres' journey); shops, restaurants, churches and colleges (the grocer's, the dentist's, the chemist's, Saint Mary's, Mario's).
An important difference is not illustrated in your examples: Tom and Jane's parents v. Tom's and Jane's parents.

Thanks for reading this. Regards.

My question is simple. Can "my wife's" be a contraction for "my wife is" or is it only a possessive?

Hello A Dawg,

The apostrophe s in 'my wife's' can be both a contraction for the verb 'is' as well as a possessive form.

Best wishes,
LearnEnglish Team

Help needed please. If i am writing SIXTIES BLUES (ie, the blues of the 1960s), should it be SIXTIES' BLUES?

Hello pipolata,

No apostrophe is needed here as 'sixties' functions as an adjective. You can say:

sixties music

music of the sixties

'60s music

music of the '60s

Best wishes,



The LearnEnglish Team

Sir, can we use possessive of something
Ex: Aircraft's wings were broken
Have a nice day!

Hi Johnny,

In general, when a noun is not the name of a person or group of people, then of is used instead of 's, but there are many exceptions to this. Your sentence, for example, sounds all right to me, even though it breaks the rule. But in general, I'd recommend using of (e.g. the wings of the aircraft were broken), since aircraft is not a person or group of people.

Best wishes,
The LearnEnglish Team