Resources for Possessives and Apostrophes
Writing Lab Slide Presentations
Rules for Possessives and Apostrophes
1. Add '-s to singular nouns and indefinite pronouns.
Example: Tiffani's flowers
Example: everybody's computer
Example: today's paper
Example: a dog's bark
Example: at the owner's expense
2. Add '-s to singular nouns ending in -s.
Example: Deloris's paper
Example: Dr. Yots's class
Example: the boss's pen
Example: Dr. Evans's office OR Dr. Evans' office
3. Add an apostrophe to plural nouns ending in -s or -es.
Example: two cents' worth
Example: ladies' night
Example: thirteen years' experience
Example: two weeks' pay
4. Add '-s to plural nouns not ending in -s.
Example: men's room
Example: children's toys
5. Add '-s to the last word in compound words or groups.
Example: brother-in-law's car
Example: someone else's paper
6. Add '-s to the last name when indicating joint ownership.
Example: Juan and Selina's home
Example: Julie and Kathy's party
7. Add '-s to both names if you intend to show ownership by each person.
Example: Juan's and Selina's trucks
Example: Julie's and Kathy's pies
8. Possessive pronouns change their forms without the addition of an apostrophe.
Example: her, his, hers
Example: your, yours
Example: it, its
Example: their, theirs
Example: our, ours
9. Use the possessive form of a noun preceding a gerund.
Example: His driving annoys me.
Example: My bowling a strike annoyed him.
Example: Do you mind our stopping by?
10. Add '-s to words, symbols, numbers, letters, and initials to show that they are plural.
Example: IRA's available at the bank
Example: the 1990's (or the 1990s)
Example: No if's, and's, or but's
Example: the returning POW's
Example: three A's