Possessive Case of Nouns: Rules and Examples

The possessive case shows ownership. With the addition of ’s (or sometimes just the apostrophe), a noun can change from a simple person, place, or thing to a person, place, or thing that owns something. There are a few different ways to form the possessive of a noun. We’ll discuss these ways below.

If the noun doesn’t end with an s, add ’s to the end of the noun. See the following examples:

This is Mary and her dog. The dog is Mary’s pet; Mary is not the dog’s pet.
This thick curtain is capable of shutting out the summer sun’s heat and light.
This is the way to the men’s room.
She got a job in the children’s section of the library.

If the noun ends with an s, add just the apostrophe to the end of the noun. See the examples below for an illustration of this type of possessive noun.

This is the boys’ bedroom.
My parents’ house is a lovely old one.
Where is Jess’ book bag?
The scissors’ handles just snapped off.

If you have a compound noun (for example, when you’re talking about two people who jointly own one thing), change only the last noun to the possessive. The examples below illustrate this usage of the possessive case.

Mike and Amanda’s new loft apartment is really neat.
Please tell Annie and Mary’s mother that they’ll be late getting home from school.

If the possessor is a building, an object, or a piece of furniture, you don’t need to add an apostrophe to show possession. See the examples below for reference:

The maid cleaned the hotel’s room.
The maid cleaned the hotel room.
We met in the office’s lobby.
We met in the office lobby.
Shut the car’s door.
Shut the car door.

Weekly Grammar Tips
Weekly Grammar Tips
Want more good reads?

Get the best stories delivered to you each week.

Your writing, at its best
Why not make your writing mistake-free across the web?
Get Grammarly It’s free
Blog Updates
Sign up for our weekly newsletter and never miss a story.
Want more good reads?

Get the best stories delivered to you each week.

Embed Code

Copy code below to embed this post to your site.