how-to-use-saxon-genitive-possession-ownership-english-abaenglish

Intermediate Grammar – Saxon Genitive

Hello there!

Today we’re going to talk about the English possessive or Saxon genitive, which is used to show ownership or possession. It is formed by adding ’s to the word indicating the owner.

It is easy once you know how to do it but sometimes tricky to remember to use it.
Here at ABA we always try to make things easier for you so let’s have a look at how it works!
Do you know what your English level is? Check it out before we start!

The possessive is used to show ownership of something by someone, let’s see how it works!

1. Singular Nouns

When we are referring to singular nouns, we add ’s to the end of the word.

Examples:

Jim’s car is red.

Andrew’s house is big.

It’s Kim’s jacket. My jacket is a different colour.

The dog’s ball is green.

2. Plural Nouns which end in “-s”

However, when we are referring to plural nouns which end in “-s”, we simply place the apostrophe at the end of the word.

Examples:

The kids’ new toys were very expensive.

My parents’ car is a Toyota.

Their friends’ houses are all bigger than theirs.

3. Exceptions

There are some exceptions, however, where the ’s is placed after the plural noun.

Examples:

My children’s friends all live in the same neighbourhood as us.

I often don’t understand other people’s opinions on politics.

The men’s section is on the third floor

4. Multiple Nouns

If there are multiple nouns, only add ‘s to the last noun.

Examples:

Kevin and Arthur’s sister is a doctor.

Sarah and Lucy’s children are good friends.

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7 comments

  1. You said: “Sara and Lucy’s children are friends”. This sentence can have two meamings. 1- Sarah is a friend of Lucy’s chidren. 2- Sara’s children are friends of Lucy’s children. How can we distinguish which the correct mean is? Thanks. Best regards. Giuseppe

    • Hello Giuseppe! The first meaning is incorrect. The example only has the meaning number 2. Happy Holidays! 🙂

      • Hi,

        I think your verdict as wrong for the first sentence is not valid…grammatically they are both meaningful and they are the reason that there is a term such as structural ambiguity or garden path ambiguity..so Spinnato is correct…rest is about examining the underlying syntactic structure

  2. Dear Kate,

    Thank you so much for your emails, I appreciate them. Please let me make a free translation of a phrase I read. Friends are like stars, (connecting it with you) I don’t open your messages frequently, but I know your lessons are there, since you unconditionally share them; so if I want to improve my English, I click on it and I know for sure I will improve my knowledge.

  3. Let me to introduce my self.i am a employee at shoe manufacture in tangerang .indonesia.my name is erwan .call me erwan .i hope can be improve my english.please teach me as well as you available .thanks

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