Possessive 's

Possessive 's

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

Language level

Average: 4.1 (71 votes)
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Submitted by .Mariia on Sat, 17/02/2024 - 19:47


Could you please help me to understan if we can say "today's quote". Or "Today's dinner is pizza"?
Can we use Possessive 's not with people

Hello .Mariia,

Yes, we can use the possessive 's with any noun and those examples are perfectly good. Well done!



The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by omarhanafy on Tue, 19/12/2023 - 12:26


Is it correct to say
I like to drink goat's milk.
I like to drink goat milk.

Submitted by Lukasz.Kazmirek on Sat, 09/12/2023 - 10:34



How to pronounce 's in "friend's"?


Hello Lukasz,

The correct pronunciation is actually the same as the word without 's: friends. The context is enough to make the meaning clear in most cases.



The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by reza-3x on Sat, 09/12/2023 - 07:36


sorry I'm a bit confused, how can we realize the difference between 's and the tobe verb [is='s] in the sentence??

Hi reza-3x,

Although they look the same, they are followed by different types of words.

The possessive 's is followed by a noun.

  • This is Simon's school.

's meaning is is followed by various types of words.

  • Simon's a student. (followed by an article + noun)
  • Simon's studying right now. (followed by -ing verb for the present continuous)
  • Simon's intelligent. (followed by an adjective)

I hope that helps to differentiate them.


LearnEnglish team

Submitted by Sefika on Sun, 26/11/2023 - 15:17


Could you please tell me what difference there is between the following phrases?
(a) The former Barcelona coach
(b) The former Barcelona's coach
(c) Barcelona's former coach
In (b), "Barcelona" is in the possessive case. Is it grammatically incorrect to use it in the possessive case in that context? Does this make it interpreted as "former Barcelona" instead of "former coach"? If not, what is the difference between them?
In (c), does "former" mean "the coach before the present one", or could it mean "any one of the former coaches"?

Hello Sefika,

Sentences [a] and [c] are correct. Sentence [b] is incorrect. 'Former' describes the coach, not Barcelona, so the adjective 'former' is misplaced in the this sentence. In sentence [a] 'Barcelona' is functioning as an adjective modifying the noun, so the word order is acceptable.



The LearnEnglish Team