What are Possessive Nouns? Let’s Find Out

7 min read
What are Possessive Nouns? Let’s Find Out

We know nouns are words that represent a person, idea, place, or thing. But what is a possessive noun? Possessive nouns are forms of nouns that represent ownership. 

Confused? Let’s explain this to you in detail below, keep reading!

Possessive Noun- What it is

Possessive nouns are those words that represent a noun’s belonging. The word possessive also means expressing ownership or belonging. We know it can be tricky to understand this grammar concept without practice resources. This is why we have published more than 100 workbooks and thousands of printable worksheets to help children grasp grammar concepts easily.

possessive pronouns examples

However, it’s time to return our attention to the topic at hand. So, how do we turn a noun into a possessive noun?  For example, if we use the noun teacher in a sentence, we could use a possessive noun as follows:

The teacher’s briefcase is in the staff room. Can you bring it for her, please?

Often we have to use different forms of possessive nouns if we include a singular or plural noun in the sentence. In fact, there may a variation in the possessive noun if the plural noun in the sentence ends with an‘s’.

Hence, whenever we wish to make a singular noun possessive, we simply have to add an apostrophe at the end and add an‘s’. Let’s elaborate a bit more on this below.

The Role of Apostrophe in Single Nouns

There is one punctuation mark that plays the most concrete role in helping us convert a noun into a possessive noun: Apostrophe. Yes, the apostrophe is a little mark, like a comma in the air, which comes in between or after letters in some words.

Some of the grammatical situations in which you will have to use an apostrophe include possessive nouns and contractions.

possessive apostrophe

Possessive Nouns – Singular

We told you how we can convert single nouns into possessive nouns simply by adding an apostrophe and an‘s’ at the end of it. For example, let’s take brother as a single noun and convert it into a possessive one in the sentence below.

My brother’s surfboard has a hole in it. Let me fix it before he takes it out on the water.

When you’re learning about single possessive nouns, it is likely that the ones ending with an s will confuse you.

Let’s take the example of a horse. When we have to convert this noun into a possessive one, we will refer to it as follows:

The horse’s tail is long, sleek, and beautiful.

Did you see what we did there? Our example above proves that this rule still applies in cases where a singular noun accumulates an extra‘s’ when we make it possessive. You must remember that the same rule will apply for words ending in ‘x’ or ‘z’.

For example, “Ms. Lopez’s concert was a huge success”. Or you could say, “Mr. Delacroix’s ceiling collapsed because of the torrential downpours last night.”

possessive form
Singular Possessive Nouns Examples
Diabetes’s symptom Gym’s rules Senator’s vote Computer’s memory
School’s schedule Today’s newspaper Apple’s taste Laundry’s smell
Mom’s pie Dog’s room John’s score Bird’s song
Goddess’s beauty Boss’s car Man’s word Mice’s cage
Cat’s tuna Sun’s rays Apple’s taste Brother’s book

Possessive Nouns – Plural

Our explanation above must have proved how converting simple nouns into possessive nouns is quite straightforward. But when it comes to converting plural nouns into possessive, the process is a little different.

First, it is important to note that most nouns, but not all, require an‘s’ or ‘es’ at the end for becoming plural. For example, glass becomes glasses as plural or book becomes books as plural.

But here comes the slightly different rule for plural possessive nouns ending with s.

If you have a plural noun that has an s at the end, then you don’t need to add another s to it. Let the apostrophe remain alone in the possessive forms.

Let’s demonstrate that with an example below:

  • The Smiths’ house underwent a major remodeling last month.
  • The kids’ toys lay scattered on the floor all day.

In the sentences above, you can see how the plural nouns only feature an apostrophe at the end but no extra ‘s’ for becoming a possessive noun. Hence, this makes it clear that plural nouns already containing an‘s’ at the end do not need an extra‘s’ after the apostrophe in their possessive forms.

possessive nouns examples
Plural Possessive Nouns Examples
Babies’ crib Clocks’ hands Womens’ dresses Unicorns’ power
Inventions’ popularity Planets’ trees Lemons’ acidity Parents’ permission
Members’ votes Teachers’ resumes Children’s toys People’s attitude
Cabbages’ taste Octopi’s legs Die’s roll Owls’ eyes

Sample Sentences of Possessive Nouns

Singular Possessive Nouns:

  • I love that boy’s skateboard mommy. Can you buy me one like that too, please?
  • The woman’s handbag contained all her essentials, including her wallet, mobile phone, and jewelry.
  • My brother’s room is always messy and untidy. He is a much-disorganized person.

Plural Possessive Nouns

  • The companies’ workers staged a collective protest against low wages.
  • The horses’ stalls have been getting dirtier by the day. When do you intend to clean it?
  • The two countries’ pop singers recently collaborated on an album.
Mixed Sample Sentences of Possessive Nouns
Bob’s hat was pink. Anna’s notebook is on the table My doctor’s office was closed today.
I went with my husband’s father to the zoo. He shook the owner’s hand. The vase’s base is broken.
My class’ projects are fantastic. Put this pen in Vlad’s office. Eduard’s car is in the garage.
Children’s clothes are expensive People’s mindsets need to be fixed Anayet’s friend is a doctor.
I found this baseball rocket in our college’s backyard. My friend’s house is very beautiful. She always corrects people’s grammar.
The children’s camping ideas. The soldier’s uniform. The eagles’ nest.
The ladies’ seat. The three years’ time. The people’s choice.

Practice makes progress. Quiz time!

Fill in the correct possessive nouns.

What are Possessive Nouns Boost Your Score2

Final Thoughts

Possessive nouns are nouns that indicate the possession or ownership of a thing, idea etc. We can convert singular or plural nouns into possessive forms with an apostrophe and in most cases an‘s’ at the end.