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Possessives: nouns

Level: beginner

We add 's to singular nouns to show possession:

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

We add ' to plural nouns ending in -s:

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

But we use 's with irregular plural nouns:

men women children people

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

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

Is that John's car?
     No, it's Mary's. (NOT No, it's Mary's [car].)

Whose coat is this?
     It's my wife's.
 (NOT It's my wife's [coat].)

Possessives: nouns 1


Possessives: nouns 2




Do we add ‘s or ‘ to singular nouns ending in -s?
e.g.: My boss’s wife. / My boss’ wife.
If the latter is correct, how do I pronounce it? [s] or [siz]

Hello re_nez

You can find both spellings out there, but the one we use at the British Council is 'boss's'. Both are pronounced the same: /'bɒ sɪz/.

All the best


The LearnEnglish Team

The difference between the two stores is their
selection of products.
is their products’ selection of the two stores
I have this example and the exam tell you that the right answer is selection of products instead of using the apostrophe s ('s) possession. I don't know how to tell the difference. Could you help me, please

Hello Teacher Lizzy

That's correct: 'selection of products' is correct. The possessive 's is not normally used when the possessor is not a person, animal or group of living beings.

There are many exceptions to this rule, but 'products' is not one of them. You can see a longer explanation of this, with more examples, in the Cambridge Dictionary.

All the best


The LearnEnglish Team

hello sir,
i saw in youtube and other website that it was written Charles's, Fransis's...
i thought the right forms were Charles' and Fransis' repeectively.

Can you please make it clear to me why is that right and me wrong??
Thank you!!

Hello rose

Since there is no single official authority regarding what is correct in English, there is some disagreement about this (and other) points of spelling and punctuation in English. Most of these points are minor and do not cause any confusion.

We have included the form we prefer, but you are welcome to use others that other reliable sources consider correct.

All the best


The LearnEnglish Team

Do I need assistance, If there's kind of an error? I put the same answer's in the Possessive nouns 1 and possessive nouns 2 but apparently don't recognized as the same answers: Excercise 3. That dog belongs to the family next door. = It's my family's' dog. Exercise 8. The party was organized by the Smith family. = It was the Smiths' party. I will appreciate the help.


Hello Keila_Blizzard

The correct answer for 3 is "neighbours' dog" and for 8 "Smiths' party". There was an error with 8, but I've just fixed it.

By the way, after you check your answers, you can press the 'Check Answers' button to see the correct answers.

Thanks for pointing this out to us.

All the best


The LearnEnglish Team

Can i say ''it's an ignorant's post'' as I'm referring to the guy who wrote it as an ignorant, or is it more correct to say " it's an ignorant post" as the post itself showing ignorance.

thanks in advance.

Hello Moaz al halabi,

The word 'ignorant' is an adjective, not a noun, so only the second sentence (an ignorant post) is grammatically correct.

The word to describe a person is 'ignoramus', but it is a very rarely used word and will sound archaic to most people.


I should point out that the word 'ignorant' is very strong and its use is likely to cause offence or anger. Unless that is your goal then something more tactful might be more effective.



The LearnEnglish Team