Possessive Nouns

Possessive Nouns

What are possessive nouns? Need help understanding what are possessive nouns and what aren’t? Check out our page and find our possessive nouns examples and learn how to weave possessive nouns into your own writing.

Believe it or not, in the English language showing the possessive form of nouns is rather straightforward. In most cases (with singular nouns) all that is needed is an apostrophe and the letter “s.’

But there are a few more rules to follow with possessive nouns so let’s take a look.  First, the basics.

What Is A Possessive Noun?

Possessive nouns are nouns that show ownership or possession.  Normally these words would be a singular or plural noun, but in the possessive form they are used as adjectives to modify another a noun or pronoun.

What is a Possessive Noun?

Here the word “cat’s” is a possessive noun.  It is letting you know that the noun “fur” belongs to the cat.  The cat owns the fur.

Examples of Possessive Nouns

Recognizing possessive nouns is easy because they always show an apostrophe.  Here are a few examples

Possessive Noun Examples
Possessive Nouns Examples #1) The gerbil’s cage needed cleaning.
Possessive Nouns Examples #2) The cars’ bumpers were locked in the traffic jam.
Possessive Nouns Examples #3) The girls’ toys were lined up neatly on the shelf.
Possessive Nouns Examples #4) The cat’s bowl is filled with cheeseburgers.
Possessive Nouns Examples #5) The dogs’ bowls are filled with hotdogs.

However, depending on if the noun is singular or possessive, you may need to add an apostrophe and the letter “s” or just an apostrophe.

Singular Possessive Nouns

Here are examples of how singular nouns take on the possessive form. It’s a simple matter of adding an apostrophe and the letter “s.”

Possessive Nouns Examples #6) Kate has a kitten.

It is Kate’s kitten. (Kate is the possessor of the kitten)

Possessive Nouns Examples #7) Kentucky has coalmines.

They are Kentucky’s coalmines. (Kentucky is the possessor of the coalmines)

Possessives can show a family relationship, too. For example,

Possessive Nouns Examples #8) Michele Obama is the President’s wife.

Names ending in the letter “s” are a little different.   You can either just add the apostrophe or you can add an apostrophe and “s.”  Adding the apostrophe and “s” is more common.

Possessive Nouns Examples #9) The party is at Charles’s house.
Possessive Nouns Examples #10) James’ wedding is next week.
Possessive Nouns Examples #11) This is Thomas’s coat.

Possessives can also refer to restaurants, stores, colleges, and churches.

Possessive Nouns Examples #12) Let’s go to Pasquale’s for lunch.
Possessive Nouns Examples #13) Is St. John’s a Catholic church?
Possessive Nouns Examples #14) Harvard’s attendance was down last year.

Nouns that identify job titles can show possession as well.

Possessive Nouns Examples #15) The doctor’s white coat was hanging in his office.
Possessive Nouns Examples #16) The salesman’s pitch was very persuasive.

To make hyphenated nouns possessive add an apostrophe + “s.”

Possessive Nouns Examples #17) My father-in-law’s hamburger recipe is the best.

When two nouns are joined but the ownership is separate each noun shows possession with an apostrophe + “s.”

Possessive Nouns Examples #18) Mary’s and Michael’s coats are red and black. (Each owns his or her own coat and they are different coats.)

If two nouns are joined and the possession is the same, the last noun get’s the apostrophe + “s.”

Possessive Nouns Examples #19) Carol and John’s new car is the latest model.

Plural Possessive Nouns

In order to make a plural noun possessive that doesn’t end in the letter “s” all you have to do is add an apostrophe and an “s.”

  • Women = women’s
  • Mice = mice’s

If the plural noun ends in an “s” it becomes possessive by adding an apostrophe at the end.

  • Cars = cars’
  • Rivers = rivers’

One thing to keep in mind is possessive nouns are all about the apostrophes.  You’ll always need one…with or without the “s.”