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It is my first question on any stackoverflow site, so sorry if I have not researched the current available questions and answers enough (I tried), but I have thoroughly searched both the internet and the english stackoverflow site as well as I could (I was not sure as to what tag I should have searched to get the correct answer to my question).

That aside I am stuck as to whether I am using a possessive noun or a non possessive noun.

The question is pretty simple which sentence is correct.

Many other online IQ tests rely on knowledge orientated questions to test ones IQ.


Many other online IQ tests rely on knowledge orientated questions to test one's IQ.

I understand one is correct and one is not, but it would be most helpful if someone could explain what is the true difference between the two and when I should use one and not the other.

I am no English language expert, and I am sure this has been answered many times on this site but I could not find it, I am sure as I continue to use the stackoverflow websites I will become more efficient at finding answers to my questions. If anyone has any tips on how to do this I would be most grateful, maybe a little FAQ on how to search?

marked as duplicate by MetaEd, TrevorD, Kristina Lopez, Mari-Lou A, Brian Hooper Aug 21 '13 at 5:33

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

  • The search I used to find the earlier question was: one's possessive – MetaEd Aug 19 '13 at 20:57
  • Thank you @MετάEd I am not too clued up with internet searching, took me half an hour to post the question in the correct format!! – ProfessorIQ Aug 19 '13 at 22:26


It's the one exception to the pronouns in not having a separate apostrophe-free genitive though historically there were others (it's and who's are now incorrect where one would use its or whose, but once upon a time this wasn't the case).

It can help one remember this, to consider that ones exists as the plural of other senses of one, and one's is a different word.

  • The one exception? Another's another: "In Another's Eyes", for example. – Edwin Ashworth Aug 19 '13 at 21:47
  • This is a great answer and shed some light onto it for me... Could you please give me an example of a correct usage and a on correct usage, so I could grasp it more? – ProfessorIQ Aug 19 '13 at 22:28
  • @EdwinAshworth I racked my brain after that dangerous "one exception" and for some reason another didn't come to me. – Jon Hanna Aug 19 '13 at 23:31

I understand where you are coming from with this question as whose is the possessive of who However, like Jon Hanna said, one is different. I don't know the answer to why it is so but conventional English usage states that one's is the possessive of one.

  • 1
    Thank you for your contribution, but please note that the protocol on this site is not to create answers that add nothing new to existing answers. You've acknowledged Jon's answer, but added nothing new. – TrevorD Aug 20 '13 at 0:58
  • If you want reinforce and reccomend an existing answer, upvote it! – user867 Aug 20 '13 at 3:31

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