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Possessive form of noun & Saxon Genitive

Level: B1
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Many people have trouble distinguishing between possessive nouns and plural nouns. Possessive nouns demonstrate ownership, while plural nouns indicate more than one person, place, or thing.


There are two ways of formulating possessive form of nouns (affiliation):

Noun + ‘s (also known as Saxon Genitive)

We use this form for short descriptions of people and animals:

my brother’s car
the lion’s cage

We use this form for short descriptions of people and animals:

my brother’s car
the lion’s cage

Of + noun / nominal phrases

We use this form for descriptions of objects and terms:

the leg of the table
the power of love

We use this form for longer descriptions of people and animals:

the wife of the man who works with me
the cage of the two tigers

We can use two above forms with nouns expressing place or organization:

the world’s  population
the population of the world

the company’s name
the name of the company

The Saxon Genitive may cause troubles with spelling.

Singular and plural forms of nouns which do not end with -s, create the possessive form by adding an ending ‘s:

women’s magazine
Bart’s family

Plural nouns ending with -s require adding apostrophe:

teachers’ room
boys’ mum

Those two forms are correct when writing surnames ending with -s:

Mrs Jones’s  husband
Mrs Jones’ husband


Some of the possessive nouns may function without a second noun.

These are nouns referring to:

SHOPSthe butcher’s
the florist’s
OFFICES, CLINICSthe doctor’s
the travel agent’s
PEOPLEt to my mother’s
I found her at her parents’
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