Apostrophes to show possession 🤔

This is something I am asked about by native English speakers so I know it’s a tricky topic for many people😓

Have a look at the following sentences:

The student’s teacher is from Australia.

The students’ teacher is from Australia.

Are both of these sentences correct ? Do they have the same meaning ?

They are both correct but they do not have the same meaning.

The student’s is referring to one student and the students’ is referring to more than one student.

The rules for the apostrophe when we want to show possession are :

For singular nouns, we place the apostrophe between the noun and the s.

For plural nouns – that is plural nouns made by adding an s to them, we place the apostrophe after the s.

Note – if the noun changes its form to become plural ( irregular plural nouns), we place the apostrophe after the noun and before the s. Look at the example below.

The children’s teacher is from Australia.

Have a look at the following sentences:

Amanda’s painting is exquisite.

Louis’ report was outstanding.

Amanda is a proper noun and the same rule applies for singular nouns as stated above.

Louis is a proper noun but it ends in s so we put the apostrophe after the s

Note Louis’s report is correct as well.

Let’s practise 🖊
The textbooks which belong to the pupils ➡️ the pupils’ textbooks

The iPad which belongs to the pupil ➡️ the pupil’s iPad

The classroom which belongs to the women ➡️the women’s classroom

The bag which belongs to Gabrielle ➡️ Gabrielle’s bag

The notebook which belongs to Carlos ➡️ Carlos’ notebook

You can contact me by going to the contact page of my website or connect with me on social media if you have further questions 😊

Published by rachelkimschultz

I have been in the ESL industry for over 25 years , first starting out teaching English in Japan after I graduated from university . I have taught English in Australia for about 20 years to many different nationalities which I love and I have also taught TESOL Certificate IV so I am a teacher trainer as well. I have worked as an academic manager for about 8 years, managing, training and supporting teachers. I love teaching all levels of English and enjoy teaching TOEIC ,IELTS and Cambridge Exam (PET, FCE and CAE) preparation courses.

6 thoughts on “Apostrophes to show possession 🤔

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