Monday, May 6, 2013

Quick Lesson: Possessive: 'S vs. S'

Possessive: 'S

In English, we normally say "John's house" instead of "the house of John."  The syntax (word order) of the possessive case in English is different from most languages, such as the Romance languages (Spanish, French, Portuguese, etc.), so it's helpful to practice this until you become more familiar with the word order.


the house of my cousin= my cousin's house
the school of your daughter= your daughter's school
the book of Teresa= Teresa's book
the friend of Adam= Adam's friend
the computer of the library= the library's computer
the beaches of San Diego= San Diego's beaches
the narrow streets of Lisbon= Lisbon's narrow streets

Now, take a look at the following words that end in the letter 's'. 

the surfboard of Charles= Charles' (or Charles's) surfboard
the park of St. James= St. James' (or St. James's) park
the birthday of Agnes= Agnes' (or Agnes's) birthday

It's more common to use the s' instead of s's, but both are correct.

The same rule applies to plural nouns ending in s:

the bikes of the students= the students' (or students's) bikes
the costumes of the actors= the actors' (or actors's) costumes

Exercise 1.  Change the following phrases using 's:

  1. the dress of my sister=
  2. the car of her cousin=
  3. the laptop of Rita=
  4. the boots of Sofia=
  5. the son of Raquel=
  6. the mother of John=
  7. the birthday party of Paul=
  8. the crayons of Jennifer=
  9. the job of my brother=
  10. the question of the student=

Exercise 2.  Change the following phrases using s':

  1. the phone number of James=
  2. the help of Charles=
  3. the boutiques of Paris= 
  4. the grades of the students=
  5. the uniforms of the employees=

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