Using Possessive ’s

We use possessive forms to show who owns something. You can make a noun possessive by adding apostrophe s (’s) to the end.

Kate’s bag

Kate is a name. The bag belongs to Kate.

the dog’s ball

‘Dog’ is a noun. The ball belongs to the dog.
There are other possessive forms we can use to show who owns something. Learn more about possessive determiners and possessive pronouns.

Singular Nouns

For all singular nouns, we make the possessive form by adding ’s.

the girl’s hat

‘Girl’ is the noun. The girl owns the hat.

We add ’s even when the noun already ends in s.

Jess’s coat

Jess is a name. Jess owns the coat.

the princess’s crown

‘Princess’ is a noun. The crown belongs to the princess.

Plural Nouns

Most plural nouns end in s. When a plural noun end in s, you make the possessive form by adding just the apostrophe (’).

the dogs ball

There are multiple dogs. The dogs own the ball.

the girls hats

There are multiple girls. The girls own the hats.

If a plural noun doesn’t end in s, you make the possessive form by adding ’s.

the children’s hats

There are multiple children. The children own the hats.

Living Things and Inanimate Objects

We usually use possessive ’s when we are talking about living things, such as people, groups of people, and animals.

The possessive form can sound strange if you use it to talk about things that aren’t alive (inanimate objects).

The dog’s leg is broken.

A dog is a living creature, so we can use the possessive.

The leg of the table is broken.

A table is not alive, so it sounds strange to say ’the table’s leg is broken'.
An exception to this is time phrases, which can use the possessive ’s. Learn more about possessive time phrases.