This possessives page brings together information about

  • possessive nouns
  • possessive adjectives
  • possessive pronouns
  • questions
  • reciprocal pronouns  



please help me to figure out the differences between 's and of about possession
I have explored a lot of web sites and books but i just don't seem to find my answer.
thanks a million.

Hello misam,

In most contexts there is no difference in meaning between, for example, 'The dog's paw' and 'The paw of the dog'. The second form sounds more formal and, in some contexts, old-fashioned, however.

If you have a particular example in mind then please post it and we'll be happy to comment.

Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Good morning Peter
I am appreciative of your cooperation.
I wonder if I could use this structure for persons.
for example,"my father's house" or "house of my father."

I am looking forward to your respond.

Hello misam,

Both of those phrases are fine. The second one sounds, as I said in the earlier answer, more formal and a little old-fashioned.

Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Hi please help me with this question,

When calling an insurance and giving information to the representative is it right to use these statements with an apostrophe "s"?
1. The patient's name is...........
2. The patient's date of birth is.............
3. The member's id is ................
4. The provider's tax id is ................

which of the above statements would have the apostrophe "s" and which ones would not?

Prem Isaac

Hello Prem Isaac,

The statements all look correct to me. In number 3, 'member ID' is also possible, but it really depends which ID you're talking about. Are you talking about the member's national ID number, for example? If so, then this is correct with the 's. If, however, you're talking about the member's membership ID number, i.e. their insurance ID number, then the compound noun 'member ID' would make more sense here.

Best wishes,
The LearnEnglish Team

Hi Kirk,

Thank you for your reply.
In the third question we are talking about " policy id number of the member." So from what you have mentioned, it is okay to use member's ID, however the one that would make more sense is " the member id is...... "
Thank you once again.

Prem Isaac

Help! I am having difficulty explaining the sentence 'I don't understand his not getting the job' to a Chinese friend - specifically why we replace 'why he didn't get' with 'his not getting'. Can anyone help me? Thank you

Hello Michele,

Although it's not listed on our verbs followed by -ing clauses page, 'understand' is one such verb that is commonly followed by a verb in the -ing form. A possessive adjective such as 'his' (or, in some varieties, an object pronoun, e.g. 'him') can be used before the verb in -ing form to indicate who you're talking about, as in this example.

You could certainly say it with 'why he didn't get', but, as if often the case, shorter ways of saying things are often preferred.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Dear Peter and Kirk,

Could you please assist me with below.
I am absolutely confused with usage of possessions with the names of the restaurants.

As I understood if an organization such as school, bank, hotel or restaurant got its name from someone’s family name, then possession must be used.
Example: Hilton’s hotel

But what if the name of the restaurant is Pool Bar or Rainbow.
What will be the correct question:

What are Pool Bar’s/Rainbow’s operating hours? Or What are Pool Bar/Rainbow operating hours?

On the same note could you please tell me if we need to use “the” before the name of the restaurant

Thank you very much in advance.