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.

 

Exercise

Comments

Hello!
Would you mind helping me with an important question: using articles with possessives? I see different things in different textbooks, as usually (((
For example: Michael drove his friend’s car. (There we have a demonstrative pronoun HIS before the noun in possessive case). But would these sentenses be correct as well: Michael drove the friend’s car / Michael drove a friend’s car?
I used to think that we do not use articles with possessives...
Thank you in advance for you reply!

Hello Aislin,

In the sentence you cite, 'his' is a possessive adjective (it modifies 'friend'), not a demonstrative pronoun. Both of the sentences you ask about are grammatically correct, but couldn't just replace the one you asked about. If you used the first one, for example, 'the' implies that the friend hasn't been identified and 'a' implies that the friend hasn't been mentioned yet.

Does that help you make sense of it?

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello, Kirk!

Thank you very much for the explanation. It is absolutely clear now.
Unfortunately, in some russian textbooks (approved by the Ministry of Education, by the way) we have information that it's impossible to use articles with possessives.
Excuse me my mistake about pronouns )))

Best wishes,
Aislin.

Which one of these is correct and why?

The keys of car
The car keys
The car’s keys

Hello kapel,

The compound noun 'car keys' is the correct form here. This is simply the way native speakers have come to speak about this item that is so important for so many of us.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Good Evening,
In above mentioned example ,:We are having a party at John’s house. [there is only one possessive noun with 's]
Can the sentence be written like this .
We are having a party at John's wife's house.

Hello asr09,

Yes, both of those sentences are fine. You can have multiple possessives in one sentence, though you need to be careful that the sentence does not become hard to follow. Two possessives is certainly fine, but more than that is unusual.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hi Kirk,
I would like to ask which one is right
"Cerys's party invitation" or "Cerys' party invitation"
Thank you for your help
Lucie

Hello Lucie,

I understand the person's name is Cerys. In this case both forms are possible. In the same way we can say either of these:

James' car

James's car

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

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