Questions about the possessive, one of several constructions that describe ownership or association between two objects.

learn more… | top users | synonyms (1)

133
votes
17answers
14k views

Is there a correct gender-neutral, singular pronoun (“his” versus “her” versus “their”)?

Is there a pronoun I can use as a gender-neutral pronoun? Each student should save his questions until the end. Each student should save her questions until the end.
49
votes
2answers
19k views

What is the correct possessive for nouns ending in “‑s”?

What is the possessive of a noun ending in ‑s? Are these both right, or is the second one wrong? the boys' books the boss' car
62
votes
5answers
30k views

“My wife and I's seafood collaboration dinner”

I just stumbled upon a Reddit post titled: My wife and I's seafood collaboration dinner. How does it look? Sure enough, the top comment immediately points out that it should be "my wife's and ...
21
votes
3answers
6k views

When is a gerund supposed to be preceded by a possessive pronoun?

I assume that the following sentences are grammatically correct: He resents your being more popular than he is. Most of the members paid their dues without my asking them. They objected ...
12
votes
2answers
29k views

Which singular names ending in “s” form possessives with only a bare apostrophe?

Many questions already ask about this topic (What is the correct possessive for nouns ending in s? , Adding apostrophe-s to a singular noun already ending in “s”, etc.) and their answers vary, but ...
41
votes
6answers
5k views

When did it become correct to add an “s” to a singular possessive already ending in “‑s”?

According to my grammar book, but at variance to the answer to this question, the correct singular possessive if a word ends in ‑s is: James’s car The grammar book allows exceptions for ...
26
votes
10answers
3k views

Why is it usually “friend of his”, but no possessive apostrophe with “friend of Peter”?

As this NGram shows, we nearly always use the possessive form of personal pronouns for friend of mine/his/ours/etc. But when it comes to actual names, we prefer friend of Peter without the possessive ...
6
votes
4answers
11k views

User’s Guide vs Users’ Guide

I’ve been looking over what has been posted regarding the use of ’s. I used to be a Technical Writer (years ago). The title of one of our training documents was Users’ Guide. Once, a coworker said ...
7
votes
2answers
453 views

“Nikki's and Alice's X” vs. “Nikki and Alice's X”

Which option is grammatical? There will be readings from Nikki Giovanni’s and Alice Walker’s writings. There will be readings from Nikki Giovanni and Alice Walker's writings. Saying it ...
19
votes
4answers
9k views

Can “whose” refer to an inanimate object?

We lit a fire whose fuel was old timber wood. Is the word whose referring to fire, an inanimate object, correct in this sentence? Or is there a more appropriate word?
13
votes
5answers
1k views

Is using the possessive 's correct in “the car's antenna”?

I know that to mark possession of an item you can use 's like in the following example: The user's password shall not be blank. However, is it correct to use the following: The car's antenna ...
18
votes
3answers
1k views

Possessive of a word that is already possessive

If the cricket ground Lord's is a possessive, what if you want to describe something belonging to Lord's? Would you say "I was very impressed by Lord's's customer services"? It doesn't look right, ...
4
votes
4answers
11k views

'Which', 'whose' or something else?

I would appreciate your help phrasing the following: I am looking for elements which/whose/... size/sizes is/are relatively large.
11
votes
4answers
10k views

What is the pronunciation of the possessive words that already end in s? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: When did it become correct to add an ‘s’ to a singular possessive already ending in ‘s’? Which singular names ending in “s” form possessives with only a bare apostrophe? ...
8
votes
6answers
2k views

What possessive forms are used for mutual 1st person ownership?

I want to talk to someone about the house that my wife and I own. Saying, for example, "My wife's and my house is awesome," sounds a bit funny to me. What's the best way to express this? ...
13
votes
5answers
8k views

Apostrophe-“s” vs “of ”

I gave a quick answer to part of this question which had not been covered by previous answers, trying to clarify the reason you would say time of decoding but not decoding’s time. I said it was ’s ...
9
votes
2answers
3k views

Preferred way to apostrophise in case of dual or multiple ownership by distinct entities [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: “Nikki's and Alice's X” vs. “Nikki and Alice's X” Consider describing the wedding of X and Y. If I want to avoid the overly-formal ...
15
votes
3answers
2k views

Apostrophe in “beginners guide”

In the phrase beginners guide to …, where should the apostrophe go? Beginner’s Guide to […] Beginners’ Guide to […] In my particular case, this is the title for a presentation so there are ...
3
votes
0answers
291 views

possessive connecting word for inanimate object [duplicate]

Duplicate of: Is the word 'whose' referring to an inanimate object correct in this sentence? Usage of “whose” not referring to a person. Referring to some attribute of an inanimate ...
21
votes
3answers
8k views

Why doesn't “its” have an apostrophe?

I know that its is the possessive and it's is the contraction, and know when to use them. But why doesn't the possessive have an apostrophe? "The bear's eating a fish." [contraction] "The bear's ...
13
votes
2answers
2k views

How to indicate possession by e.g. passers-by, mothers-in-law

I'm quite fond of internal pluralisation, such as passers-by, mothers-in-law, or even Chambers of Commerce. However, I've recently realised that I've no idea how to indicate possession in such a ...
8
votes
2answers
2k views

Why use apostrophe-s to denote possession when using 'of'

Think of the simple phrase "Bill's friend". If you were going to turn this around using the preposition 'of' would you say: A friend of Bill's or A friend of Bill It appears to me that, in the US ...
2
votes
1answer
570 views

Referring to some attribute of an inanimate object — use “who's”?

This came up in describing an input to a function: A handle to the daemon who's name is desired. (Daemon is a type of process on a system.) Somehow, "who's" just doesn't seem right because it's ...
1
vote
0answers
564 views

Other ways of saying whichs [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: 'Which', 'whose' or something else? Of course there isn't a word whichs (as far as I know), but I am talking about the possessive form of which. ...
6
votes
6answers
12k views

“Your and my [something]” vs “Yours and my…”

Prompted by comments against this question, I'd like some help figuring out why some people (myself included) prefer yours over the apparently more logical/grammatically consistent your in this kind ...
4
votes
2answers
1k views

Store names & possessive

Observation: It seems that it's common to turn a store name into a possessive, for example a store named "Palisade" gets transformed to possessive in speech like, "Hey how about going to Palisade's ...
2
votes
2answers
2k views

User’s/Users’/Users Group [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: “User's guide” vs. “users' guide” If referring to a Users Group (meaning a group made up of multiple individual users who have some ...
6
votes
1answer
1k views

Why do we say “of mine/of his” instead of “of me/of him”?

He's a friend of mine. That's a car of his. Why do we use the possessive when the meaning would be the same while not using it (e.g. a friend of me and a car of him)? I thought maybe it is ...
13
votes
6answers
967 views

Is it correct to say “I write children books” (not possessive case)? [closed]

Although Children's books is what everybody says, I would like to understand why the genitive case is applied in such case. If I write books for children, children is an adjective here; not the ...
4
votes
3answers
7k views

Should “two weeks vacation” be “two weeks' vacation” (possessive)?

I've always understood that the phrase "two weeks" usually turns to "two weeks'" when used as a modifier -- as in "I'm giving my two weeks' notice" or "I get two weeks' vacation" ("two weeks' holiday" ...
5
votes
1answer
14k views

Plural possessive with separate posessions

When we refer to a house that belongs to a family, we say "family's house". Pluralizing family gives us "families". Referring to the houses of several families, we say "families' houses". Forming the ...
10
votes
7answers
988 views

“Your” vs. “you're”: Why the confusion?

I have seen many comments on different blogs and forums where English native speakers spelled you're as your. I'm not a native speaker, but I know and understand the difference between the two. Why is ...
3
votes
2answers
854 views

Explanation on when the possessive should be used instead of an attributive noun

How would you explain to a person who is learning English, and whose native language does not have attributive nouns, when the possessive should be used instead of an attributive noun? In particular, ...
11
votes
1answer
2k views

Is it common for place names to lose their possessive apostrophe?

On a road trip, my wife and I drove by Kings Dominion. We debated whether this should in actuality be King’s Dominion. It seemed that it ought to be possessive, or possibly plural possessive. Upon ...
4
votes
0answers
393 views

What is the possessive form of “what”? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: 'Which', 'whose' or something else? First of all, I'm not a native speaker so I can't rely on my intuition in this specific case. For a very long time I ...
3
votes
2answers
1k views

Correct form of object of sentence with grouped possessive and personal pronoun?

Lets say the object of a sentence is a possessive, of more than one nouns. Something that is say both someone else's and my own. IE Tom's and mine, as in the sentence This meeting requires Tom and ...
2
votes
1answer
950 views

Usage of “whose” not referring to a person [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Referring to some attribute of an inanimate object — use “who's”? I noticed the use of "whose" in the following sentence I wrote does not refer to a ...
18
votes
14answers
9k views

How to say “She/He is my girlfriend/boyfriend” without the possessive “my” [closed]

Is there a way to indicate that somebody is your girlfriend without using the possessive term my? I think saying She/He is my partner/other half is OK for married people, but it doesn't feel right for ...
4
votes
2answers
229 views

Usage of “of” in genitive: “The queen of England's crown” or “The queen's of England crown”? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: “My wife and I’s seafood collaboration dinner” What is the correct way of these two sentences? The queen of England's crown The queen's of England crown Strictly ...
12
votes
1answer
1k views

Origins of possessive pronouns

If apostrophe + s is the acceptable way of denoting a genitive in English, is it possible that possessive pronouns, such as hers, ours and yours, started life as possessive adjectives with apostrophe ...
3
votes
3answers
908 views

Genitive case or noun as adjective

Is there any rule for when it is better to use genitive case or noun as adjective? I'm not sure if there is any difference in meaning in this example: The department of accounting The ...
2
votes
3answers
4k views

How do I pronounce “s's” and “s'”? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicates: What is the correct possessive for nouns ending in s? Pronouncing possessive words that already end in s How do I pronounce possessives that end with the awkward ...
9
votes
5answers
16k views

What is the possessive of “you guys”?

Most people seem to stumble over this. The problem can arise with any multi-word phrase that needs a possessive but ends in S, and so sounds awkward using the clitic apostrophe-S. I've heard this ...
8
votes
2answers
511 views

*all of us's friend

There's this funny gap I tried to write a paper once upon a time when I studied linguistics, and I'd like to know if anyone has insight into it. The construction in question is the possessive ...
7
votes
1answer
478 views

Achilles heel and Achilles tendon

Studying possessive apostrophes I have searched on ELU the questions correlated to this matter. I have found the following: «What is the correct possessive for nouns ending in s?» and ...
6
votes
4answers
2k views

How to indicate possession when using abbreviation “Dr.”

I often run into a case where I need to say I have a doctor's appointment, but how would I properly punctuate it if I wanted to use the abbreviation Dr. instead of the word doctor? Dr.'s appointment ...
5
votes
5answers
6k views

What’s the correct plural possessive of “kids”?

I know that children’s books is correct, but for some reason I want to say kids books, even though I know that it’s a plural possessive noun ending in an s. A quick search on the web turns up Barnes ...
5
votes
4answers
617 views

Usage of apostrophe in “baker’s dozen”

In the phrase “baker’s dozen”, why does the apostrophe indicate possession of a (single) baker? Shouldn't it indicate possession of all bakers in general? Shouldn’t it be “bakers’ dozen”?
5
votes
2answers
2k views

Plural name apostrophe position

At my English lesson the native English speaker couldn’t tell what is correct and promised to search it for us! He told us that if James is one person then we should write James' Book but if ...
3
votes
2answers
1k views

Possessive form of “one of [a list]”? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Plural possessive with separate posessions Which of the following is more correct? Or is there another form I'm missing? We drove to the movies in one of my buddy's ...