Possessive Nouns are used to indicate ownership or possession.

1) Singular Possessive

To form the possessive of singular nouns, add ( ‘s ) to all nouns.

Singular Nouns

Singular Possessive



the boy’s Sony radio

the storm’s center

2) Plural Possessive

To form the possessive of plural nouns that end in “s” or “es”, add an apostrophe ( ‘ ) to the end of the word.

Plural Nouns

Plural Possessive



the candles’ light

the ships’ escorts

For nouns that form the plural any other way, add ( ‘s ) to the end of the word.

Plural Nouns

Plural Possessive




the children’s toys

the women’s department

the men’s club

3) Singular or Plural?

To decide whether to place the apostrophe ( ‘ ) before or after the (s), follow this simple rule: Rephrase the sentence substituting an “of phrase” for the possessive noun to determine if the noun is singular or plural.

Example: The (team’s, teams’) colors were on display.

Of Phrase

Possessive Form

color of the team (singular)

colors of the teams (plural)

team’s colors

teams’ colors

4) Individual and Joint Ownership

To show individual ownership, make both nouns in the sentence possessive.

Individual ownership: Mark’s and Arlene’s cars were stolen. (Each person had a car that was stolen.)

To show joint ownership, make only the final noun possessive.

Joint ownership: Mark and Arlene’s car was stolen. (The car belonged to both Mark and Arlene.)

NOTE: Individual ownership, the noun following the possessive is generally plural (cars), while in joint ownership the noun is singular (car). Look for this clue when deciding whether to use joint or individual possessive forms.