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

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

Possessive ‘s – Use and form

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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. (NOT the father of Peter)
  • 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 (NOT the street’s end)
  • a picture of the eclipse (NOT the eclipse’s picture)
  • the man of the match (NOT the match’s man)

Compound nouns – the city center

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

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


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? (NOT Who’s car is this?)
  • Who’s that man in the lobby? (NOT Whose that man in the lobby?)