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: TV's

Example: IRA's available at the bank

Example: the 1990's (or the 1990s)

Example: No if's, and's, or but's

Example: VCR's

Example: the returning POW's

Example: three A's

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