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Can someone please explain what a Possessive Ending is and provide examples? I'm trying to get a deeper knowledge of the English language and this term came about.

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closed as general reference by Kris, Mehper C. Palavuzlar, Marthaª, FumbleFingers, Mahnax Apr 25 '12 at 18:32

This question is too basic; it can be definitively and permanently answered by a single link to a standard internet reference source designed specifically to find that type of information. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

I think the ending of the Possessive Case is meant, namely, -'s –  Armen Ծիրունյան Apr 25 '12 at 17:45
Typing that exact string into the Google search box is easier, faster and more efficient. Voting to close as general reference. –  Kris Apr 25 '12 at 18:13

1 Answer 1

The possessive (or genitive) case in English is shown by adding an -'s (apostrophe + s) to singular nouns and irregular plural nouns, and an ' (apostrophe only) to plural nouns ending in -s. Examples:

  • the boy's dog (one boy)
  • women's rights
  • the boys' dog (two boys)

It is called the possessive because it is often used to show possession. So, my father's car is the car that my father possesses. But it can also be used for weaker forms of association: the world's biggest problems, the government's plans, St John's hospital.

The possessive apostrophe is not normally used to show association between inanimate objects. So we usually say the door of the car or the car door, not the car's door.

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I'd have up voted this fine answer but for the fact that this is a homework question. –  Kris Apr 25 '12 at 18:17
It’s a little more complicated than that, but that’s close enough. (For example, series and species are singular nouns whose possessive is just an apostrophe without the s. On the other hand, the possessive of trapeze is indeed trapeze’s.) Another issue is that the apostrophe-s sometimes actually applies to a larger NP, as in the attorney general’s office vs all the attorneys general’s offices, or the chief of state’s main responsibility. You’ve also forgotten that personal pronouns form the genitive ever so slightly differently than nouns do: they take no apostrophe. –  tchrist Apr 25 '12 at 18:18
@tchrist. Agreed, a simple glance at the list of questions about apostrophe use in the box to the right is enough to know that this topic is a lot more complex than my answer suggests. –  Shoe Apr 25 '12 at 18:23

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