English as an Additional Language/Possessives

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We use possessives when we talk about things which are owned by somebody or a direct relation to someone or something. In many languages it is common to talk about possession using a structure like 'object of subject' where the object is owned or possessed by the subject. This is possible in English but it generally sounds unnatural - This is the garden of my mum.

Usually in English we use possessives - This is my mum's garden

Singular Possessives[edit]

This is simple. Simply add 's to the end of the noun if the owner or possessor is singular (I only have one mother).

  • Tom's pen
  • Ross's new house
  • Sarah's DVD player
  • The dog's dinner (dinner of one dog)

Plural Possessives[edit]

If the owner or possessor is plural - i.e. many people own it - then we add the ' after the 's' of the plural noun.

  • The dogs' dinner (dinner of many dogs)