The Possessive Noun

A noun becomes a possessive noun when it is used in a certain way in a sentence. Look at the sentence below.

The boy is very playful.

The sentence above has just one noun: boy.

The sentence above doesn’t indicate that the boy owns anything.

Let’s change the sentence a little bit.

The boy is very playful and he has a red ball.

The sentence now has two nouns: boy and ball. Even though the sentence does indicate that the boy owns the ball, the noun “boy” is not used as a possessive noun. 

A possessive noun is a noun used in such a way as to show that it owns another noun in a sentence.

Let’s reconstruct the sentence to make boy into a possessive noun.

The playful boy’s red ball is outside.

In the sentence above, boy’s is a possessive noun because it is used in such a way as to show ownership.

In all the sentences below, the nouns in bold are possessive nouns because they own another noun in the sentence.

The cat’s tail is very long. (cat owns tail)

The rat’s tail is very thin. (rat owns tail)

The donkey’s ears are very big. (donkey owns ears)

The man’s boat is in the river. (man owns boat)

The children’s ice cream is in the fridge. (children own ice cream)

The snake’s teeth are very dangerous. (snake owns teeth)

The bees’ nest are full of honey. (bees own nest)

The bee’s sting is very dangerous. (bee owns sting)

To turn a noun which does not end in s into possessive noun, add apostrophe + s (‘s). Example:

The boy‘s ball is on the table. (singular noun not ending in s)

The children‘s food is on the table. (plural noun not ending in s)

To turn a noun which ends in s into a possessive noun, just add an apostrophe (). Examples:

The trees leaves are green. (plural noun ending in s)

Mr. Jones shirt is very nice. (singular noun ending in s)

More on the noun:


Article location: >> English >> English Language >> Grammar >> Parts of Speech >> The Noun

Keywords: possessive nouns, nouns that show possession, parts of speech, English, grammar

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