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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. complete and simple predicates
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5. the object of the preposition
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6. the participle and participial phrase
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7. the adjective clause
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8. what good writers do
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9. compound subject and compound predicate
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10. introducing phrases
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11. the noun adjective pronoun question
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12. The nominative case
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13. the gerund and gerund phrase
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14. introducing clauses
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15. Commas Part Five
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16. Second Capitalization List
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17. types of sentences by purpose
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18. the indirect object
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19. types of nouns
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20. the pronoun
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21. the adjective
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22. the verb
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23. the adverb
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24. Confusing usage words part one
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25. compound prepositions and the preposition adverb question
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26. the direct object
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27. subject complements predicate nominatives and predicate adjectives
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28. the verb phrase
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29. the noun clause
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30. Confusing usage words part three
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31. Confusing usage words part eight
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32. Active and passive voices
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33. Commas Part Three
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34. Commas Part Four
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35. Quotation Marks Part Two
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36. regular verb tenses
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37. the preposition
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38. The coordinating conjunction
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39. the interjection
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40. reflexive demonstrative and interrogative pronouns
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41. The possessive case
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42. Indefinite pronouns and the possessive case
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43. Sound a like words Part Two
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44. Commas Part Two
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45. The Apostrophe
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46. pronouns and their antecedents
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47. complete and simple subjects
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48. the prepositional phrase
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49. the adverb phrase
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50. the appositive
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