Should there be an apostrophe in the following sentence. If so, where?

"Play is our brains favorite way of learning."

closed as off-topic by Scott, Robusto, Kris, sumelic, Mari-Lou A Jun 15 '18 at 18:08

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.


Yes, and it depends:

*"Play is our brains favorite way of learning." -- ungrammatical; doesn't make sense.

"Play is our brain's favorite way of learning." -- the brain of each of us.

"Play is our brains' favorite way of learning." -- the brains of ours.


  • Maybe it's just me but two and three both seem wrong. I don't share a brain with anyone else, in two. Three, to me, doesn't need an apostrophe since it says 'our'. – Nigel J Jun 15 '18 at 8:39
  • Huh, @NigelJ We are discussing English here. – Kris Jun 15 '18 at 12:09
  • Yes indeed. I agree. – Nigel J Jun 15 '18 at 12:49

Yes, you need an apostrophe.

To me, “our brain’s” doesn't make any sense because I can only interpret “our brain” as meaning “the single brain belonging to us collectively”. So I would only use “our brains’ ”. But different English speakers apparently have different intuitions about the acceptability of expressions like these.

As I mentioned in the comments, a related question is Members must use their own cards ,or, members must use their own card? I didn't look through the linked questions earlier, but now I have, and I have found one that I think is a duplicate: Our bodies' or our body's.


"Play is our brain's favorite way of learning."

In this sentence'Play' is a noun, 'is' is a verb and 'our brain's favorite way of learning' is a complement. Therefore there should not be an apostrophe.

  • 2
    Huh? "Therefore there should not be an apostrophe."? – Kris Jun 15 '18 at 5:44
  • 2
    But you used an apostrophe . . . – Jason Bassford Jun 15 '18 at 6:08

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.