Apostrophe -- Possessive

Possessive / Possession

Possession means that some "property" (a ball) belongs or is in close relationship to an "owner" (the children), which are usually described by nouns. Use the apostrophe to show what belongs to whom.

1. Add 's to singular nouns to show they are the "owners."
The author's books appeared in Mr. Smith's review article.
Note: If the singular owner already ends with s, you can either add 's or only an apostrophe. At WhiteSmoke, we prefer the first option but if you chose otherwise, you must be consistent with the option you choose
Mr. Williams's dog ate Chris's writing assignment. Or
Mr Williams' dog ate Chris' writing assignment.

2. Add only an apostrophe to plural nouns to show they are the "owners."
The Williams' dog ate all the students' writing assignment.
Note: If the plural nouns does not end in s, add 's to show they are the owners.
The Children's dog ate the people's shoes.

3. Add 's to the last word in compound words and phrases:
The basketball player's performance was incredible.
His father-in-law's business is very successful.

4. Add 's to each "owner" to show that each of them owns a "property" separately.
Dan's and Sharon's writing assignments are the best in the class.
(two different assignments written by two different people)

5. Add 's to the last "owner" in a group to show that the group owns a "property" jointly.
Dan and Sharon's writing assignment is the best in class.
(one assignment written by two people together).

*Watch Out!
1. The Apostrophe does not create possessive pronouns (mine, yours, his, its, hers, ours, theirs).
We need two cars. Let's take ours and hers.
2. You may prefer using the preposition "of" instead of the apostrophe to show possession when the owner is described using a long phrase.
The new German writing instructor's books are best seller. or
The Books of the new German writing instructor are best sellers.

[source: www.whitesmoke.com / 31-Mar-09]

Back to Index