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Singular and Plural Possessive Nouns

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Basics on the topic Singular and Plural Possessive Nouns

Possessives Nouns – Introduction

In writing and speaking, we often need to say that an object belongs to someone or that someone is related to someone else. In order to do this, we use possessives.

In the English language, possessives or possessive nouns are nouns that show belonging or ownership. We use possessives when we want to say that someone owns something, someone has a relationship with someone else, or something belongs to a place.

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Possessives can be singular or plural. Singular possessives show ownership of an object to one person, for example: a cat’s toy. Plural possessives show that an object is owned by a group of nouns: cats’ house.

Singular Possessive Nouns

Singular possessives show ownership of an object to one person, place, or thing. When making a singular possessive noun, we add an apostrophe and the letter -s at the end of a noun. For example, a book belonging to one boy is a boy’s book. The apostrophe and the -s here shows ownership to the boy.

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Some singular possessives already end in -s, such as lens, boss, gas or names like James, Iris, Charles, Alexis. In possessives that end in -s, we put the apostrophe after the -s at the end of the noun: the boss’ car. Possessives for names ending in -s are formed in the same way as singular nouns possessives: James’ guitar, Iris’ laptop.

Plural Possessive Nouns

Plural possessives show a group of nouns that has ownership of an object.

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Plural possessive nouns can be regular or irregular. Regular plural possessive nouns end with -s or -es, such as boys, girls, hamsters, bushes. Irregular possessives don’t have the -s after the noun, instead, they have their own unique form. Some irregular plural possessives examples are: women, men, children, sheep, deer, cacti, fungi, mice, feet.

So where does the apostrophe go on the plural possessive? When the plural possessive in a regular noun, we add an apostrophe at the end of the word: boys’ books, girls’ ball, hamsters’ cage, bushes’ leaves. We do not add an additional -s.

When the plural possessive is an irregular noun, we add an apostrophe and the letter -s, just like we do with singular nouns. For example: women’s jackets, men’s team, children’s books, sheep’s wool, deer’s antlers.

Possessives: Singular and Plural – Summary

Now let’s review what we have learned about singular and plural possessives.

  • We use singular and plural possessives to show ownership.
  • In singular possessive nouns, we add an apostrophe () and the letter -s after the noun.
  • In singular possessive nouns that end with -s, we add an apostrophe after the -s.
  • In regular plural possessives, we add an apostrophe () after the -s.
  • In irregular plural possessives, we add an apostrophe and the letter -s after the noun.
Singular Possessives Singular Possessives
Ending in “s”
Regular Plural
Possessives
Irregular Plural
Possessives
noun + + -s noun + noun + noun + + s
doll’s Alexis’ trucks’ children’s

Now you know a lot about possessives! For more practice, check out our video, activities, and singular and plural possessives worksheets.

Frequently Asked Questions about Possessives Nouns

What are singular and plural possessives?
What is a singular possessive example?
What is an example of a plural possessive?
How do you write plural possessives?

Transcript Singular and Plural Possessive Nouns

At the beach, there are items that anyone can use. Koko and Pip realise items are claimed by putting a towel on them so they need to put some towels on things they want to use! Today, we are going to learn all about singular and plural possessive nouns. A possessive noun is a noun that shows ownership and can be singular or plural. Singular possessive nouns show ownership of an object to one person, place, or thing. They usually have an apostrophe and the letter . For example, if a beach chair on the beach belonged to one woman we would write 'the woman's beach chair.' The apostrophe and here shows ownership to the woman. Sometimes, a singular noun already ends with an such as James. In this case, we would put the apostrophe after the in the singular noun! There are also plural possessive nouns which is when a group of nouns have ownership of an object. Plural possessive nouns can be regular where we have an or after the noun to show the group, such as dogs, boys, or potatoes. They can also be irregular where there is not an after the noun, such as children, deer, or cacti. Let's practise writing singular and plural possessive nouns with Koko and Pip now! Koko and Pip found some beach toys belonging to a group of boys. When the plural possessive noun is a regular verb we add an apostrophe at the end of the word! We would write 'the boys' beach toys', with the apostrophe here at the end! Koko and Pip have found a frisbee that belongs to the mice. When the plural possessive noun is an irregular verb we need to add an apostrophe and then an at the end of the word. We would write this as 'the mice's frisbee'. Let's use possessive nouns with more items that Koko and Pip find! They find a surfboard but it looks like it belongs to Bertha! How can we show that Bertha owns the surfboard using possessive nouns? Bertha is a singular animal, so we need to add an apostrophe and to the noun Bertha and write 'Bertha's surfboard.' Well, it looks like they can't use the surfboard! There is a volleyball court over here but it looks like it belongs to the dogs. How do we show ownership of the volleyball court by the dogs? Dogs is a regular plural noun, so add an apostrophe at the end of dogs and write 'the dogs' volleyball court.' Koko and Pip can't use the volleyball court either! While Koko and Pip try and find something that hasn't been claimed yet let's review! Remember, to show ownership with singular possessive nouns, add an apostrophe then . To show ownership with regular plural possessive nouns, add an apostrophe after the . To show ownership with irregular plural possessive nouns, add an apostrophe then . "It looks like the ice cream was the only thing nobody had claimed yet!" "I know! And it is so delicious!" "Sorry Pip but it looks like that's the seagull's ice cream now!"

Singular and Plural Possessive Nouns exercise

Would you like to apply the knowledge you’ve learnt? You can review and practice it with the tasks for the video Singular and Plural Possessive Nouns.
  • Identifying Singular and Plural Nouns.

    Hints

    First, decide whether each noun is singular or plural.

    For example, girl is a singular noun and girls is plural.

    If the noun is plural, decide whether it is regular or irregular.

    Regular plural nouns always end in s or es.

    So, girls is a regular plural noun but women is irregular plural.

    Solution

    Singular Nouns:

    • Cat
    • Ballerina
    • Chicken
    These nouns are singular because they refer to only one person, place or thing.

    Regular Plural Nouns:

    • Frogs
    • Mothers
    • Buses
    These nouns are plural because they refer to more than one person, place or thing. They are regular because they end in s or es.

    Irregular Plural Nouns:

    • Geese
    • Cacti
    • Men
    These nouns are plural because they refer to more than one person, place or thing. They are irregular because they do not end in s or es.

  • Expressing possession.

    Hints

    First, find all the singular nouns.

    A singular noun means there is only one of that item. Plural means more than one.

    Look at the image below to help you.

    For singular possessive nouns, add 's to the end of the word.

    Can you find all 3 pairs of singular nouns?

    Next, find the possessive forms of the plural nouns.

    If a plural noun ends in s, add an ' after the s.

    If a plural noun does not end in s, add 's.

    Solution
    • Woman, Caterpillar and Cloud are all singular. Add 's for the possessive form.
    • Women is irregular plural. Add 's for the possessive form.
    • Caterpillars and Clouds are regular plural. Add ' after the final s for the possessive form.
  • Rewrite the sentences with possessive nouns.

    Hints

    Is the missing possessive noun singular or plural?

    Read the first sentence in each line for clues.

    Most singular possessive nouns end with 's.

    If the noun is a name that ends in s, like Davis, add ' at the end.

    Remember, plural possessive nouns can be regular or irregular.

    • Regular: add '.
    • Irregular: add 's.
    Solution
    1. The bird's nest. Singular.
    2. The princesses' crowns. Regular plural.
    3. The ram's horns. Singular.
    4. The pirate's coins. Singular.
    5. Charles' snowman. Singular.
  • Find the errors.

    Hints

    Use the images to find out if the noun is singular or plural.

    Look at the chart below to help you decide.

    For plural nouns:

    • If the plural noun ends in s, it is regular. So, add an ' at the end.
    • If the plural noun does not end in s, it is irregular. So, add 's to the end.

    The plural of fungus is fungi.

    Solution

    The correct sentences are:

    • The penguins' party. The party is for all the penguins.
    • The fungi's forest. The plural of fungus is fungi.
    The incorrect sentences are:
    • The bird's worms. The correct form is birds'. It is plural and regular.
    • The kids' umbrella. The correct form is kid's. The image shows one kid. So, the noun is singular.
    • The sloths gift. The correct form is sloth's. Singular possessive nouns end in 's.

  • Plural vs. singular possessive nouns.

    Hints

    The example below has a singular possessive noun. Singular possessive nouns have 's at the end.

    Which sentence needs a singular possessive noun?

    A regular plural possessive noun ends with an ', like the example below.

    Which sentence needs a plural possessive noun?

    There is more than one cat that the string belongs to, so the plural is cats. Where does the apostophe go to show the string belongs to the cats?

    Solution

    The monkey's headband.

    • There is only one monkey in the image. So, the noun is singular. Add 's to make the possessive form.
    The cats' string.
    • There is more than one cat in the image. So, the noun is plural. Add s' to make the possessive form.

  • Whose stuff is this?

    Hints

    The plural of 'cactus' is 'cacti'.

    It is an irregular plural noun.

    For singular possessive nouns, add 's.

    Which 2 sentences need singular possessive nouns?

    Regular plural nouns end in s.

    To make the possessive form, add an ' at the end.

    Check the spelling of each owner in the image below.

    Solution

    The frog's book.

    • Frog is singular.
    The cacti's thorns.
    • Cacti is irregular plural.
    The fox's cup.
    • Fox is singular.
    The robots' cake.
    • Robots are regular plural.