What are possessives?

Possessives are words that tell us to whom something belongs.

There are different types of possessives:
a) possessive determiners
b) possessive pronouns
c) ‘add s’ possessives

Possessive determiners

Possessive determiners are words that tell us who something belongs to.
They are based on subject pronouns.

Subject pronounPossessive determinerExample
ImyIt is my book.
youyourIt is your book.
hehisIt is his book.
sheherIt is her book.
ititsIt is its book.
weourIt is our book.
theytheirIt is their book.

Examples of possessive determiners

Don’t touch my computer!
Your dinner is on the table.
I like his new car.
They will use our tickets.
There is no money in their bank account.

Possessive pronouns

Possessive pronouns are words that tell us a thing belongs to someone.

While possessive determiners go next to the noun (for example: this is my cookie), possessive pronouns go next to the verb (for example: this cookie is mine).

In the S.V.O. (subject-verb-object) sentence structure, they can be the subject or the object. This means they can go at the beginning or end (usually the end).

Subject pronounPossessive determinerPossessive pronounExample
Imyminethe book is mine
youyouryoursthe book is yours
hehishisthe book is his
sheherhersthe book is hers
ititsitsthe book is its
weouroursthe book is ours
theytheirtheirsthe book is theirs

Example of possessive pronouns

This is mine.
Which house is yours?
The dog is hers.
You need a ticket? You can take ours.
There are many cakes here, but yours is the best.

Adding ‘s’

For normal nouns, an ‘s’ can be added to tell us something belongs to it.

If the noun is singular (only one), an apostrophe goes before the s.
If the noun is plural (more than one), it usually already has an s. The apostrophe goes after the s.

Singular nounPossessivePlural nounsPossessive
the housethe house’sthe housesthe houses’
the teacherthe teacher’sthe teachersthe teachers’
a cata cat’scatscats’
a citya city’scitiescities’

Examples of ‘s’ possessives

The shop’s boss is old. The companies’ owners are angry. (more than one company)
A man’s best friend is his dog.Cats’ eyes shine in the dark. (more than one cat)
I took the girl’s chocolate bar.The kids’ teacher plays the piano. (more than one kid)
We usually go to Ada’s house after school. The jars’ contents smell terrible. (more than one jar)