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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 Peter,

Thanks so much for your prompt reply.
As you said that the use of 'already' in negative sentences is non-standard English, which
I would also think so because this particular usage is not found in English grammar books.

However, I have read on the internet that someone has quoted part of the sentences in British National Corpus, where 'already' is used in the negative sentence. Do you think it would be possible to replace the 'already' with 'yet' ? or do they have a special implication by using 'already' in the sentence ?

"In this chapter, I shall set out all those questions which are most frequently asked by prospective patients, and which have not already been covered in Chapter 1; and in Chapter 3, by giving details of the progress of one particular case, I shall endeavour to provide some idea of what to expect during a typical regression therapy session".

Thanks for your help.

Best wishes,

Hello Melvin,

It is possible to replace 'already' with 'yet' in this sentence.

This is an example of a use of 'already' which typically occurs in formal contexts and is equivalent to 'thus far'. It is most often used when we are talking about a process or a particular sequence of actions which form a process of some kind rather than a one-off, self-contained act.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Dear Kirk,

I have noticed that the word "already" is used in negative sentences, such as :

[1] I haven't seen the movie already.
[2] He hasn't got married already.

[A] What is the exact implication of using "already" in the negative sentences?
[B] What is the difference in meaning if we change "already" with "yet"?

I would appreciate your clear explanation. Thank you.

Best regards,

Hello melvinthio,

I think this is a use of 'already' which is non-standard. I remember hearing it used in some local dialects, such as amongst some people from New York, but I'm afraid I'm not from New York and couldn't say too much about it. Certainly in British English and standard American English this use of 'already' is not standard, and I would replace the word in those sentences with either 'yet' or 'still' (placed before the verb phrase), depending on the context.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team


My questions are:

1) Which is the difference between "clients' bank accounts and clients bank accounts"? Is it correct to say: I managed the clients' bank accounts.
2) Is it correct to say "CitiBank's client's current account"? On the internet I found only the expression "CitiBank's client current account".
3) Is it correct to say "companies' risk profile"?

Best regards!

Hello lauraboitan,

1) Yes, your sentence is correct if your talking about multiple clients each with their own account. In most cases I can think of 'clients bank accounts' wouldn't be correct. 'client bank accounts' could be correct -- in this case 'client' is joined with the compound noun 'bank account' to make a longer compound noun.

2) The first phrase doesn't work because CitiBank has more than one client. Also a compound noun ('Citibank client') is much more likely to be used here. You could speak about a Citibank client's account or Citibank clients' accounts.

3) Since each company has its own risk profile, I'd say this should be 'companies' risk profiles'.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Which is a better sentence:
Uncle Tom and Aunt Mary are staying at Aunt Mary's friend's house in Japan.
Uncle Tom and Aunt Mary are staying at the house of Aunt Mary's friend in Japan.

Hello Janice,

The first one is probably more common, since we usually use 's with people, but there's nothing wrong with the second one.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello there,
Please give me a help about the following matter:

I want to make an inquiry document for purchasing some doors for some of our company cars. Let's say there are five cars and we want to have five spare doors, I need to know what I should write in my inquiry for this. Which of the followings is correct and more appropriate?

1)Inquiry for Car Doors
2) Inquiry for Cars Door
3)Inquiry for Cars Doors
4)Inquiry for Cars' Doors
5)Inquiry for Car's Doors

Since we don’t usually use the possessive ’s with things, I personally think no.4 and no.5 are wrong.
Please let me have your comments/recommendations.


Hello Pedram,

1) is the correct option here. 'car door' is a noun + noun combination. In these kinds of compound nouns (there are many others, e.g. 'mineral water', 'horse race', 'schoolbook', 'sunglasses'), the first noun is almost always singular and it is the second noun which becomes plural.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team