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Questions tagged [possessives]

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

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22answers
92k views

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

Is there a pronoun I can use as a gender-neutral pronoun when referring back to a singular noun phrase? Each student should save his questions until the end. Each student should save her ...
128
votes
6answers
227k 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 my". ...
102
votes
5answers
137k 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?
85
votes
2answers
131k 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
59
votes
7answers
26k 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 historical ...
55
votes
1answer
332k views

Is there an apostrophe in a master's degree?

The question asks it all really. When referring to a master's degree, do you use an apostrophe or not? That is, is it "a master's" or "a masters"?
53
votes
4answers
25k views

When is a gerund supposed to be preceded by a possessive adjective/determiner?

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 to ...
53
votes
3answers
455k 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 ...
46
votes
3answers
38k 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 ...
41
votes
6answers
84k views

Why is “our today's meeting” wrong?

One of the answers to this question states that "We shall discuss it in our today's meeting" is grammatically correct. To me, that sentence is clearly wrong. While in today's meeting is fine and in ...
40
votes
17answers
6k views

“If I were you, I'd apologise to my/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 supposed to be your or my instead? My feeling ...
39
votes
5answers
49k 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 ...
36
votes
3answers
89k 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"? , When did it become correct to add an “s” to a singular possessive already ending in “‑...
35
votes
6answers
15k 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 ...
34
votes
10answers
9k 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 ...
32
votes
4answers
2k 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, ...
29
votes
2answers
329k 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?
27
votes
3answers
6k views

Why is there a distinction between “its” and “it's”?

While I know technically the English language has a distinction because when there's a conflict between the possessive form and a contraction, the contraction wins. That is: Its is the possessive ...
26
votes
5answers
18k 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 is ...
26
votes
1answer
2k views

Graphotactics of possessive: the true reason for the apostrophe

I have some hypotheses for English graphotactics: 〈w〉 and 〈y〉 are optional positional variants (i.e. allographs) of 〈u〉 and 〈i〉, respectively, in digraphs that correspond with diphthongs or vowels: 〈...
22
votes
2answers
40k views

Is the possessive of “one” spelled “ones” or “one's”?

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 ...
21
votes
3answers
5k 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 out ...
20
votes
10answers
4k views

Apostrophe for indicating possessive. How do I convince my professor? [duplicate]

I've read this and this. I know that the underlying question has been answered, my problem is of a different nature: I'm currently writing my master's thesis in CS and my professor thinks that the ...
20
votes
5answers
75k 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 ...
20
votes
4answers
39k 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.
19
votes
5answers
72k 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 ...
19
votes
3answers
14k 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 multiple ...
18
votes
14answers
21k 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
1answer
170k views

Yours vs. your's

Which is correct “Is that yours?” or “Is that your’s?”? I ask because it is possessive, so I would think it would be the latter, but I typically use and see the former usage. Are there particular ...
18
votes
3answers
3k views

What is the correct usage of the word “Cartesian”?

While working on an essay for my English class I included this sentence: The best solution is to take a page out of Cartesian theory and take a proven approach. However, my teacher corrected it as ...
18
votes
2answers
768 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). I'm ...
18
votes
4answers
216k views

What is the correct word to use instead of else’s?

If I am trying to say, “That problem that belongs to someone else,” then what is the correct word to use in this sentence: That is someone else’s problem. My spell checker says else’s and elses ...
17
votes
6answers
4k 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 ...
17
votes
1answer
73k views

What is the proper plural of “a series”? [closed]

In math, we use the term series a lot, and there are many types of series. How should I craft my sentence when I have three different ones in mind to talk about? Should I settle down for a less ...
17
votes
4answers
52k 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? My ...
16
votes
5answers
76k 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 ...
15
votes
2answers
3k 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 +...
15
votes
3answers
10k views

Why “themselves” and “himself”

In the earliest grades of elementary schools, students learn that "hisself" and "theirselves" are not words. I do not understand why this is. If you wanted to refer to 'his' sock, you would say "his ...
15
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2answers
11k 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 case....
15
votes
1answer
5k 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 ...
15
votes
2answers
559 views

Odd possessive form of a proper name: Why does Dryden write “Lord Nonsuch his” instead of “Lord Nonsuch’s” but “Bibber’s” instead of “Bibber his”?

While researching a question posed on EL&U, I came across this list of the characters in John Dryden’s The Wild Gallant (1663), from a 1735 collection of Dryden’s works: DRAMATIS PERSONAE. ...
14
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3answers
168k 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 ...
14
votes
5answers
45k 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, ...
14
votes
2answers
2k 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, but ...
14
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2answers
73k 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 of them ...
14
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1answer
51k views

Which one is correct “et al.’s” or “et al.”?

I want to use the possessive noun form with et al. as in et al.'s versus et al.
14
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3answers
81k views

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

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 "...
13
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1answer
15k 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?
13
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5answers
5k views

articles with the possessive nouns in the plural

Is there a definite rule about the use of articles with the possessive nouns in the plural? One rule says that the article in such a phrase modifies the possessive noun. So, it is correct to say "...
12
votes
1answer
5k 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 ...