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Practical English Grammar


The possessive case

The possessive case of a noun or pronoun indicates ownership or possession.
Pronouns such as his, her, its, my, mine, your, yours, their, theirs, our, and
ours are all possessive case words.

Here are several rules for the possessive case.

A. Most singular nouns form their possessive by adding an apostrophe
and an s. (the baboon’s food; the girl’s sweater; Marx’s teachings; Burns’s
poetic lines; Dickens’s characters)

B. To form the possessive of a singular noun that ends with an s sound,
take one of two actions.

   1. If a name of two or more syllables ends in an eez sound, the possessive
is formed without an additional s. (Ulysses’ friends; Archimedes’

   2. Add an apostrophe and an s if the word would not be difficult to
pronounce. (dress’s cost; quartz’s essence)
C. Add only an apostrophe to form the possessive of a plural noun that
ends in s. (the boys’ gymnasium; the Murphys’ home)
D. If a plural noun does not end in s, add an apostrophe and an s. (the
men’s department; the mice’s hiding spots)

E. Use the possessive form for only the last name in compound nouns for
organizations, literary titles, businesses, and relatives. If owned separately,
use the possessive for both names.

Tom’s and Pete’s reputations (separate reputations)
Procter and Gamble’s sales (combined ownership)
mother-in-law’s magazines (one woman’s ownership)
mothers-in-law’s magazines (two or more women’s ownership)

F. For acronyms (words formed from the first letters of a series of words),
add an apostrophe and an s.

the NHL’s (National Hockey League’s) members
AARP’s (American Association of Retired People’s) membership

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Practical English Grammar - Notes
1. compound subjects part two
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2. Quotation Marks Part Three
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3. Italics Hyphens and Brackets
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4. the participle and participial phrase
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5. the object of the preposition
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6. subject complements predicate nominatives and predicate adjectives
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7. introducing phrases
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8. Confusing usage words part three
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9. the adverb
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10. the gerund and gerund phrase
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11. the adjective clause
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12. the noun clause
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13. types of sentences by purpose
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14. the correlative conjunction
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15. compound subject and compound predicate
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16. The possessive case
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17. the indirect object
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18. complete and simple predicates
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19. types of nouns
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20. the pronoun
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21. introducing clauses
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22. Confusing usage words part one
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23. The coordinating conjunction
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24. the interjection
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25. the verb phrase
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26. the adjective
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27. the adverb clause
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28. what good writers do
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29. Sound a like words Part Two
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30. the preposition
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31. the noun
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32. singular and plural nouns and pronouns
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33. the noun adjective pronoun question
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34. the verb
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35. the adverb phrase
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36. the subordinating conjunction
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37. the adjective phrase
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38. Confusing usage words part six
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39. the infinitive and infinitive phrase
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40. personal pronouns
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41. the appositive
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42. Parentheses Ellipsis Marks and Dashes
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43. The nominative case
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44. Second Capitalization List
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45. compound complex sentences
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46. complete and simple subjects
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47. Periods Question Marks and Exclamation Marks
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48. Commas Part One
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49. First Capitalization List
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50. The verb be
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