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.




Good evening. Is "the school's name is St Mary's" an acceptable alternative to " The name of the school is St. Mary's" ?

Hello soniae

Yes, it is. We tend to use the possessive s when the possessor is a person or animal or some kind of group of living beings (e.g. a country, a government or a school).

All the best


The LearnEnglish Team

Which sentence is correct?
The protagonist's, Bob, role is diverse.
The protagonist, Bob's, role is diverse.

Hi Tara

I would recommend avoiding the issue by saying 'The role of the protagonist, Bob, is diverse' or 'The protagonist's role is diverse. For example, Bob ...'

If you do an internet search for 'possessives with appositive forms' or something similar, you can find people making different suggestions about this sort of issue. I'm not a trained professional editor, but I think many would make the same recommendation I have.

All the best


The LearnEnglish Team

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,
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,

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,
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.