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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




Hello zeeshan-hussain,

If 'their' here refers to more than one person then 'lives' is correct. If 'their' is used to mean 'he or she' then 'their' is correct.

Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Thank you Peter. Appreciate your help.

Hello sir,
i do not understand properly both point,which is given below.i read example but i do not understand properly.
1- we use 's with plural noun ending in -s.
2- we use 's with other plural noun.

Hello yogesh mani tripathi,

The rule is not as you have quoted here. Look at the page again.

WIth plural nouns ending in -s we use s' [s followed by an apostrophe]

With other plural nouns we use 's [an apostrophe followed by s]

The examples should make it clear.

Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Possessive nouns are interesting. Now what happens when something belongs to a service, like say Public Administration.
1.The vehicle belongs to the Public Administration department.
2. The Public Administration's vehicle is having mechanical problems.
Please comment

Hello Githuga,

The first sentence is the more natural was to phrase this, using 'Public Administration' as an adjective rather than a proper noun.

I would rephrase the second sentence as follows:

The Public Administration Department's vehicle is having mechanical problems.

Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Does this rule apply to animate possessors other than human beings or is it only a matter of personification?
Than you in advance.

Hello solitude,

The rule applies to animate possessors, whether human or animal, and 's can also be used with countries and organisations. If you have any specific examples you want to ask us about, feel free.

Best wishes,
The LearnEnglish Team

From the two phrases below, what is the proper way to say that someone is documenting something? Is this follows the rule of possesion mentionned above too? There is not subject on the sentence as it is only part of a bullet list

Documentation of applications and procedures vs Applications and procedures documentation


Hello MayelaM,

Both of those are fine. The first one suggests what someone might do (e.g. it could be a job responsibility), while the second seems to describe some kind of forms or paperwork (e.g. a kind of documentation).

Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team