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Possessives

1. What are possessives?

Possessives are words that tell us who owns a thing.

This is my money!
It is not your money.


There are different types of possessives:
– ‘add s’ possessives
– possessive determiners
– possessive pronouns

2. 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’
AdaAda’s

3. 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)

4. Possessive determiners

Possessive determiners are words that tell us who owns a thing.
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.

5. Examples of possessive determiners

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

6. Possessive pronouns

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

While possessive determiners go with the noun (for example: this is my book), possessive pronouns go with the verb (for example: this book is mine).

Subject pronounPossessive determinerExamplePossessive pronounExample
Imythis is my bookminethe book is mine
youyourthis is your bookyoursthe book is yours
hehisthis is his bookhisthe book is his
sheherthis is her bookhersthe book is hers
ititsthis is its bookitsthe book is its
weourthis is our bookoursthe book is ours
theytheirthis is their booktheirsthe book is theirs

7. Possessive pronoun sentence patterns

Possessive pronouns can be the subject or the object in a sentence.

The most common patterns are:

  • noun + verb + possessive pronoun
  • possessive pronoun + be + adjective/noun
  • possessive pronoun + verb + determiner
Noun + verb + possessivePossessive + be + adjective/nounPossessive + verb + determiner
This is mine.Theirs is the black dog.Mine is this one.
Which house is yours?Look at these houses. Yours is very nice.Yours is that one over there.
The dog is hers.Hers is the best dog here.Hers is that dog next to the table.
You need a ticket? You can take ours.You need a ticket? Ours is available.Ours are these tickets.

8. Test yourself

Click here to test your knowledge of this grammar point.

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