What are Possessive Nouns in a Sentence?

In the English language, possessive nouns are nouns used in a possessive form. They can also appear as possessive pronouns and plural or singular possessive nouns in certain situations and uses. These nouns are modifying meanings of things to be in possession of someone else. There are a few types of possessive nouns using possessive apostrophes, noun phrases, prepositions, compound possessives, collective nouns, proper nouns, possessive adjectives, determiners, compound nouns, adverbs and other plural forms in the use of possessive nouns. The addition of an apostrophe and “s” allows a noun to be made possessive.

A noun is a person, place or thing as identified in a sentence. A possessive noun is a noun used in a sentence to show ownership. In the sentence "John's ball was lost the other day," the phrase "John's ball" indicates possession, and "John's" is the possessive noun. John owns the ball, another noun, that got lost. This simple rule of adding an apostrophe and “s” can be used for most names in a possessive noun use. While there is no one correct way to make a noun possessive, this rule is often helpful in the use of possessive nouns. This grammar rule normally has the last word in what rules you can use in possession. The end of the word or noun is what is used to identify possession normally. Plenty of worksheets are available online with examples of possessive nouns in parts of speech. English grammar can be tough to learn for beginners, but this concept of possessive nouns is easy.

Various Forms

The simplest type of possessive noun is a singular noun with an apostrophe and an "s" added to the end of the noun, such as in the phrase "John's ball." Plural possessive nouns are a bit trickier. In the sentence "The families' tents were blown over by the wind," the plural version of "family" indicates that multiple families had their tents blown over by the wind. In this instance, a single apostrophe is added at the end of the plural version of the noun, because the plural ends in "s." However, in the sentence "The men's clothes were too small," the plural noun "men" doesn't end in "s." In such cases, an apostrophe and an "s" are added to make the plural. In a case like the name “Jones,” you may use “Jones’s or Joneses” depending on the use.


Some examples of possessive nouns in sentences include:

“That is my mother-in-law’s cake.”

“That is my dog’s bone.”

“Those children’s toys are cheap.”

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