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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

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Possessives: nouns 2

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Comments

Hi there !
I am a little bit confused with the following sentences' :
1) Children follow the footsteps of their parent's when it come to a habit of watching T.V.

2) Children's follow the footsteps of their parents' when it come to the habit of watching T.V.

Please suggest me which sentence (1 or 2) is correct and why or why not.

With regards
David

Hi David,

I'm afraid neither of those sentences is correct. When we use 'of' in this way we do not use a possessive form so the correct sentence would be:

 

Children follow the footsteps of their parents when it comes to the habit of watching T.V.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Peter,
Thank you very much for your feedback.

I will do keep this in mind.
But i feel you made a minor mistake in your sentence(i may be wrong); you have written "Children's follow the footsteps of their parents when it come to the habit of watching T.V."
i feel , come is wrong , it should be "comes" because of "it" before it.

Thanks

Hello davidChoubey,

Thank you for pointing this out. There were actually two errors in the sentence! I copied the sentence from the original question and did not check it properely. I have edited my answer now.

Thanks once again. We should always remember to check things carefully before clicking 'save'!

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hi,

If I have three or more nouns (e.g. persons) sharing possession of an item or items, would it be right to say that the apostrophe is only added to the last noun, as in the following:
"Dick, Mary, Charlene and Tim's car" ?

Also, under the same scenario where again all parties share possession of the same item or items, and should my phrase involve a personal pronoun, would it be right to say that the apostrophe is added only to the last noun before the personal pronoun, as in:
"Charmaine, Henry, Nic's and my last day at work"?

Appreciate your advice on the above, please.

Thanks!

Regards,
Tim

Hello Tim,

Both of your suppositions here are correct. Well done.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Teachers,
Can I use "of which' as possessive form for inanimate object. For example, can I combine these 2 sentences
"I put the book on the table. The legs of the the table are almost broken" into
" I put the book on the table, the legs of which are almost broken"?
Thank you

Hello again Kaisoo93,

It is unusual to use 'of which' in this way. I'd recommend rephrasing the sentence with an adjectival prepositional phrase, e.g. 'I put the book on the table with the legs that are almost broken' or '... with the damaged legs'.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello. I have a question related to the usage of the possessive 's.
I read this example:
'The moon is Earth's satellite.'
But I know that we can't use the possessive 's with inanimate objects. So, why do we use the possessive 's in this case? Which ones are the exceptions to the rule?

Hello Daniel H,

I'm not sure where you heard that 's cannot be used with inanimate objects. It is perfectly fine to do so:

This is my house's bathroom.

I went through the university's main entrance.

The knife's edge was blunt.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

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