Possessive 's

older man with beard

Do you know how to use possessive 's? Test what you know with interactive exercises and read the explanation to help you.

Look at these examples to see how we use possessive 's.

Mohammed is my brother's son.
My grandpa's beard is white.
This is my grandparents' house.

Try this exercise to test your grammar.

Grammar test 1

Grammar test 1: Possessive 's

Read the explanation to learn more.

Grammar explanation

We can use possessive 's to talk about the relationship between people or to say who owns something. Possessive 's always comes after a noun or a name.

We often use possessive 's or s' when we talk about family and friends.

Grandma and Grandpa are my mum's parents.
Maria's best friend is Juanita.
My cousins' birthdays are both in January.

We can also use it to say that something belongs to someone.

That's Roberto's flat. He's got a flat in the city centre.
Kim's hair is very long. She's got long, black hair.
My parents' garden is beautiful. They grow a lot of flowers.

When it is one person who owns something, we usually use 's.

Our friend's car is red. She loves it.
Simon's phone is new. He bought it yesterday.
Can you see Amira's keys? She can't find them.

It is possible to use more than one possessive in a phrase.

We had lunch at my friend's father's house.

If a name or noun ends in s, we can add either ' or 's. The pronunciation can be /zɪz/ or /sɪz/.

Is that James' bag?
That's my boss's office.

If the thing belongs to more than one person, we usually add ' after the s of the plural noun.

Our friends' house is in the mountains. They moved there last year.
My grandparents' dog is called Bertie.
The twins' school is closed today.

If the plural noun is irregular and doesn't end in s, we add 's.

This is our children's school.
The women's clothes are on the second floor.
A lot of people's eyes are brown.

If something belongs to more than one person, and we give a list of names, the 's comes after the last name in the list.

Liam is Anne and Gary's son.

Remember that s at the end of a word without an apostrophe (') can make it plural, but this doesn't show possession.

I've got two brothers.
Are those your keys?

Do this exercise to test your grammar again.

Grammar test 2

Grammar test 2: Possessive 's

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Average: 3.2 (5 votes)

Submitted by PN on Wed, 18/01/2023 - 07:37

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Hello, I have a question. I read about this possessive 's somewhere, and I understand that singular noun ends with s have to use 's (class's or gas's). But, if it's followed by a word that starts with S, it becomes like this: "class' sitting corner." Is it right?

Hello PN,

That's an interesting rule, but ultimately this is a matter of style. In other words, some people follow one rule and others follow other rules.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team