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

learn more… | top users | synonyms (1)

123
votes
16answers
12k 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.
58
votes
5answers
24k 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 ...
46
votes
2answers
14k 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
40
votes
6answers
4k 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 ...
38
votes
16answers
4k views

If I were you, I'd apologise to *my* (OR) *your* mum

I'm stuck with this example which I don't know how to solve A: I've said bad things to my mum. B: If I were you, I'd apologise to your mum. Is it suppose to be 'your', or 'my' instead? My ...
33
votes
6answers
6k views

What does “day's” mean?

I understand what the sentence The house is a full day’s journey from here means, but I’m wondering what day’s is short for in this expression. It doesn’t match any pattern I know. A couple of ...
24
votes
9answers
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 ...
20
votes
3answers
6k 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 ...
19
votes
3answers
5k 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 ...
18
votes
14answers
8k 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 ...
18
votes
2answers
422 views

Pronunciation of 'host' in Shakespeare's time

Listening to the recent film production of Macbeth with Patrick Stewart, I noticed that Duncan says: Give me your hand. Conduct me to mine host. Obviously, it's in the text (Act 1, Scene 6). ...
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, ...
17
votes
1answer
9k views

Ones or one's: Which is the correct usage?

I've been confused about this as long as I can remember. Should it be: One should do ones duty. or One should do one's duty. I'm guessing it should be the latter. But that doesn't sit well ...
17
votes
3answers
77k views

“Doctor's appointment” or “doctors appointment”?

I've looked this up online, but I can't find any explanations from reasonably credible sources, so I'm posting my question here! (Was that a comma splice?) Should I refer to the appointment that I ...
16
votes
4answers
6k 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?
16
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 ...
15
votes
2answers
641 views

What is the correct spelling of “buyer* remorse”?

Apostrophical query: a) Buyers Remorse b) Buyer Remorse c) Buyer's Remorse d) Buyers' Remorse My guess is b or c, as it seems like any example is talking about the remorse of one specific buyer, ...
14
votes
4answers
14k views

“Its” as a Possessive Pronoun

Since its can be both determiner possessive pronoun and nominal possessive pronoun, an example of its as determiner possessive pronoun would be: We saved this question for last because of its ...
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 ...
13
votes
6answers
869 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 ...
13
votes
2answers
810 views

Did “Mrs” originally imply possession?

Was Mrs ever intended to mean Mr's, as in mister's to indicate possession? I started thinking about this when someone brought a breakdown of the word history (his-story) to my attention. It ...
13
votes
5answers
7k 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 ...
13
votes
2answers
1k 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 ...
12
votes
2answers
20k 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 ...
11
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 ...
11
votes
3answers
46k views

Should I use “everyone's”, “everyones'” or “everyones”?

I have the following sentence: Joe got everyone's attention and started to speak. Should it be everyone's, everyones' or everyones?
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 ...
11
votes
3answers
13k views

How do you make the possessive form with “He and I”-style subjects?

Despite being a native speaker of American English, I cannot find a construction that sounds natural when trying to form a possessive from coordinated subjects including a first person pronoun, like ...
11
votes
4answers
9k 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? ...
10
votes
2answers
1k views

Is “a friend of his” a used phrase?

I know that a friend of mine is a used phrase, but is the phrase also used with other personal possessive adjectives? I met a friend of his.
10
votes
2answers
26k views

Possessive and plural of “Series”

I'm looking at the financial definition of series: a group of stocks or options that have common characteristics. Source How would I form the possessive and plural of this term? I'm guessing it is ...
9
votes
7answers
915 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 ...
9
votes
2answers
2k 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 ...
9
votes
1answer
414 views

When did it become incorrect to use apostrophes with possessive pronouns?

I'm reading Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility, and I notice that she invariably uses an apostrophe with possessive pronouns — in a way that would be considered incorrect now. For example: (Elinor is ...
9
votes
1answer
161 views

Does “In the event of …” take the genitive case?

Is insisting on a genitive pronoun after "In the event of ..." pedantry or correct? For example: "In the event of ..." his/him winning the election my/me dying our/us leaving For those who ...
9
votes
1answer
525 views

Use of an Apostrophe in Maths Place Values

In mathematics, when you're discussing the concepts behind different number bases, it's often necessary to refer to a digit's place. For example, in the following "base 10" number (the number system ...
9
votes
1answer
7k views

What is the correct possessive form of names ending in “x”?

The title says it all. Should one use Theroux's works or Theroux' works?
8
votes
3answers
35k views

“Today's assumption” or “todays assumption” — which is valid grammar?

We (non native English-speakers) are writing a paper and are wondering if the following construct is valid English: Yesterday's assumption is no longer valid. Specifically the apostrophe after ...
8
votes
6answers
3k views

Difference in pronunciation between “your” and “you're”?

I'm a native English speaker (Texas counts, I suppose), and I pronounce "your" to rhyme with "core", and "you're" to rhyme with "cure". Is it just me or did I pick this up somewhere?
8
votes
5answers
3k views

Strunk and White says “Charles's” is correct — is this still the case? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What is the correct possessive for nouns ending in s? When did it become correct to add an 's' to a singular possessive already ending in 's'? I just ...
8
votes
2answers
10k views

What is the correct syntax for a plural possessive of a word already ending in s? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What is the correct possessive for nouns ending in s? Before you vote to close as a duplicate, note that these two questions deal with similar issues to this, but none ...
8
votes
1answer
787 views

What is the possessive form of “y'all”?

I generally hear y'alls's used as the possessive form, but I have also heard yourn. Since y'all is a colloquial pronoun, its possessive form is basically liberated from prescriptive linguistics which ...
8
votes
3answers
292 views

“A similar hat to Jane” vs “A hat similar to Jane’s”

Of late I have noticed British people using the following sort of construct: John and Jane make such a cute couple because John always wears a similar hat to Jane. To my ear, that is ...
8
votes
3answers
372 views

“Shooting themselves in the foot/feet”: Which is preferred?

To “shoot oneself in the foot” is to do something harmful to oneself by accident. How should this phrase be worded to apply to several people? This is provided to stop people from shooting ...
8
votes
1answer
1k views

How did an apostrophe plus the letter “s” come to indicate possession? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Origins of possessive pronouns How did English come to use "apostrophe s" to indicate possession, when it seems to me that few (if any!) other languages do (or do ...
8
votes
2answers
498 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
6answers
4k views

Apostrophes and caps in Happy Mother’s Day / Happy Mothers’ Day

So, I’m writing this as it is Mother’s (or maybe Mothers’) Day today, and I was wondering what would be a correct way to write that. Should the apostrophe come be between the r and the s, or after ...
7
votes
1answer
2k views

Possessive form for words ending in “y”

Which of the following is correct? The fortune 500 companys' assets are vast. The fortune 500 companies' assets are vast.
7
votes
5answers
6k views

“Thousand Dollars Worth” or “Thousand Dollars' Worth”. Is this a Possessive?

I was writing the following sentence: Five thousand dollars worth of equipment does not a professional photographer make. Apart from the other questionable syntax in this over-stylized sentence, ...
7
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? ...