Explanations » A1 Grammar Explanations » Whose, possessive ‘s – Whose is this? It’s Mike’s
Exercises
Explanation
Course

Whose, possessive ‘s – Whose is this? It’s Mike’s

Possessive ‘s – Use and form

Informative grammar chart explaining the use and form of possessive 's in English, with rules for singular, plural, and irregular nouns, and examples.

Download full-size image from Pinterest

Possessive ‘s – use

We use ‘s to show that something belongs to a person (or a pet) or to talk about relationships between people.

  • This is Peter‘s father. blank
  • This is the father of Peter.blank
  • Peter and Mary‘s car is red. 
  • My cat‘s ears are white. 

We also use the possessive ‘s to talk about shops and houses.

  • I am at John‘s. (= at John’s house)
  • I need to go to the chemist‘s(= the chemist’s shop)

Possessive ‘s – form

Singular noun + ‘s

  • Anna’s clothes, Chris’s wife, the student’s books, etc.

Plural noun ending in -s ‘ (apostrophe)

  • The students’ books, the boys’ toys, the teachers’ lounge, etc.

Irregular plural noun (NOT ending in -s) + ‘s

  • The children’s toys, men’s clothes, etc.

When one thing belongs to two or more people, add ‘s only after the last noun.

  • Paul and Katherine’s house, Anna and George’s car, etc.

When we have two or more people, and each person has one thing, we add ‘s after each person.

  • Anna’s and George’s cars (Anna’s car and George’s car), Sally’s and Tim’s computers (Sally’s computer and Tim’s computer).

Possessive of

We use of and NOT ‘s when we talk about things (and not people or pets).

  • the end of the street blank
  • the street‘s end blank
  • a picture of the eclipse blank
  • the eclipse‘s picture blank
  • the man of the match blank
  • the match‘s man blank

Compound nouns – the city centre

With nouns that are used together very often, we often use them together without of and without ‘s

  • a school bus
  • the city centre
  • the car key

Whose

When do we use whose?

We use the question word whose to ask about possession. There are two possible forms:

whose + noun

  • Whose car is this?
  • Whose books are those? 

whose without a noun

  • Whose is this car?
  • Whose are those books? 

When we answer with the possessive ‘s, we can also use ‘s + noun or ‘s without a noun.

  • Whose is this car?
  • It’s John‘s car
  • It’s John‘s

Whose vs who’s

Whose = possession (of who)

Who’s = who is

  • Whose car is this? blank
  • Who’s car is this? blank
  • Who’s that man in the lobby? blank
  • Whose that man in the lobby? blank