Possessive Nouns

Follow these rules to create possessive nouns.

With singular nouns, add an apostrophe (’) and s.

girl: girl‘s manuscript
student: student‘s ideas

With plural nouns ending in s, add an apostrophe (’) after the s.

girls: girls’ manuscript
students: students’ ideas
boys: boys’ school

With plural nouns not ending in s, add an apostrophe and s.

women: women‘s books
mice: mice‘s tails

With compound nouns, add an apostrophe and s to the last word.

sister-in-law: my sister-in-law’s daughter

Possessives with of

We cannot put a possessive between a noun and a determiner. We can say my friend, his friend, John’s friend, a friend or that friend. But we can’t say a my friend or that John’s friend. Instead we use a structure with of + possessive.

Structure: determiner + noun + of + possessive

  • He is a friend of mine.
  • How is that brother of yours?
  • He is a friend of my father’s.
  • He is a cousin of John’s.
  • Have you heard this new idea of the boss’s?

Note that sometimes we use a noun without the possessive ’s after of.

  • He is a friend of my father.
  • He is a cousin of John.
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Manjusha Nambiar

Hi, I am Manjusha. This is my blog where I give English grammar lessons and worksheets.

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