Possessives are forms that we use to talk about possessions and relationships between things and people. They take different forms depending on how they are used.

Read clear grammar explanations and example sentences to help you understand how possessives are used. Then, put your grammar knowledge into practice by doing the exercises.  

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Hello admins,
I'm not really sure when to use possesives correctly.
For example, they coordinated (their) opinions and introduced (the/ their) discussions afterward.
Could you give us some explanation?

Hi Rafaela1
In general, we use the possessive form when the thing mentioned (for example, here, 'opinions' and 'discussions') 'belongs' in some way to the person or people. It's difficult for me to say anything for sure about the sentence you mention, because I don't completely understand what it refers to, but 'their' before opinions shows that the opinions are the opinions of 'they' (and not other people). As for 'discussions', it's not clear to me which discussions these are, so it's difficult to advise you on that one. If the discussions are discussions that the same people who coordinated their opinions have had, then 'their' is probably correct.
I hope this helps you, but if you have any other questions, please let us know.
All the best
The LearnEnglish Team

Hi Kirk
Thank you for your response which helps me a lot. I understand that I need to learn more about how grammar functions and makes meaning in a context.

Is the statement " There is a garden in their house." correct?

Hello Vidyaarthi,

The sentence is grammatically correct. However, it would be unusual (but not impossible) to have a garden inside a house. Generally the garden is outside the house.



The LearnEnglish Team

Is there a rule restricting the number of apostrophe 's to be used in a phrase to indicate possession? For example, is the following sentence correct?

My friend's father's friend's house is beautiful.

I have searched a lot on the internet for a reliable page on the topic, but in vain. Can you please suggest one?


Hi Adya's,

There is no rule for this. However, common sense tells us that multiple examples of possessive 's will make a sentence clumsy, inelegant and possibly hard to follow. It's very unusual to see more than two in a row.



The LearnEnglish Team


Responding to Peter M's comment:

"Both progressive and continuous are used interchangeably in British English. Progressive is the older, more traditional form; continuous has come into use more recently. I'm from the UK and I'm not sure about typical US usage, I'm afraid."

American/U.S. English speaker, here. I have never seen the words, "progressive" and "continuous" used interchangeably in American English. It might be a cultural difference that makes them interchangeable in the UK, but I am at a loss to know how that is possible because their definitions are distinct.

Dear Sir,
Susan is one of my friends. or Susan is a friend of mine.

They are all correct. But I'd like to ask you the question: when do we use the first one ? and when do we use the second one?