Possessives: nouns

Learn how to use 's and s' to show possession and do the exercises to practise using them.

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



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Submitted by asr09 on Tue, 20/02/2018 - 14:46

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.

Hello asr09,

Yes, both of those sentences are fine. You can have multiple possessives in one sentence, though you need to be careful that the sentence does not become hard to follow. Two possessives is certainly fine, but more than that is unusual.



The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Lucie Gralton on Thu, 18/01/2018 - 08:04

Hi Kirk, I would like to ask which one is right "Cerys's party invitation" or "Cerys' party invitation" Thank you for your help Lucie
Profile picture for user Peter M.

Submitted by Peter M. on Fri, 19/01/2018 - 06:31

In reply to by Lucie Gralton


Hello Lucie,

I understand the person's name is Cerys. In this case both forms are possible. In the same way we can say either of these:

James' car

James's car


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Profile picture for user joory hoory

Submitted by joory hoory on Sun, 06/09/2015 - 01:38

hi guys I don't understand the question . my solution is so bad , What is mean the question for possessives nouns ? the answer is ( one / more than one) what depends the settle ? I don't understand
Profile picture for user Peter M.

Submitted by Peter M. on Sun, 06/09/2015 - 20:26

In reply to by joory hoory


Hi joory hoory,

You need to look at the example sentence and decide if the sentence is talking about one person or more than one.

Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team