Improve Your Spelling: Plural Possessives

Ah possessives. The old "apostrophe s" problem, that trips so many people up. In my article on singular possessives, I explain what a possessive is (indicating ownership), and one very simple rule to follow. Pop over there to have a quick read, and I'll be waiting for you back here ...

Tip: If you are serious about improving your spelling, then Troy and I highly recommend you try the popular spelling-improvement software Ultimate Spelling. Click Ultimate Spelling for details.*

... OK, so you know what to do to show possession for a single thing. Add "apostrophe s", that's it. Easy peasy.

Sorry to say, but things get a tiny bit trickier with plural nouns. A plural noun simply means more than one. So for example, cat is a singular noun (there's only one cat), while cats is a plural noun (there are more than one cat, and a recipe for trouble). Plural nouns are often formed by adding an "s" or "es" to the singular form of the noun. Chair becomes chairs, grass becomes grasses, school becomes schools, glass becomes glasses.

There are two rules here, but they are quite easy to remember:

1) If the plural ends in "s", to make a possessive, just add an apostrophe. No extra "s" required:

  • governments' agendas
  • puppies' messes
  • patients' relief
  • ducks' noises

2) If the plural does not end in an "s", then add "apostrophe s":

  • women's memories
  • octopi's homes
  • men's health
  • geese's feathers

The majority of plural nouns end in 's', so Rule 1 is the main one you need to remember. To be a real spelling champ, keep Rule 2 up your sleeve, and impress all your friends!

Now, practise your possessives to get some practice in your newfound knowledge of possessives!


*Troy and I recommend only products that we have tried and tested. These include Ultimate Spelling. We have agreed to receive a commission from some sales of Ultimate Spelling because we are happy to endorse that spelling-improvement software.


Last modified on Friday, 27 November 2015 23:27
English Language Skills (Denise)

English Language Skills (Denise)

I'm a syndicated puzzle writer, with 8 puzzle books to my name, including Word Searches for Dummies and Cracking Codes and Cryptograms for Dummies (with Mark Koltko-Rivera). I have a background in science and graphic design, and am a trained indexer. My favourite puzzles are cryptic crosswords. and my favourite books are murder mysteries and cookbooks. I am also a very keen knitter.

I write a blog all about puzzles, called Puzzling.

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