Improve Your Spelling: Possessive Pronouns

In my previous articles on Singular Possessives and Plural Possessives, you've learnt about how to use "apostrophe s", you've learnt when to simply add an apostrophe (plural nouns ending in s), and you've learnt some tricks of the trade. But now we're going to tackle the possessive forms that cause the most anguish and confusion — possessive pronouns!

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.*

A pronoun is a short word that stands in for a noun. They include words like he, she, it, we, they, them, I, you, me, this, that, anything, everybody, and so on.

Using pronouns makes English sound and read a lot better. Rather than writing, for example, Judy loved Jim. Every time Judy saw Jim, Judy felt a warm glow, we can write Judy loved Jim. Every time she saw him, she felt a warm glow. Much nicer with pronouns!

Now, possessives show ownership of some sort or other. It doesn't have to be the physical ownership of "things", but can also refer to emotions and other attributes.

We're used to adding "apostrophe s" to form possessives of regular nouns — Fred's tea, the donkey's bad temper, the book's cover. But possessive ponouns are different. Very different. Here's the rule to remember:

Possessive pronouns do not use "apostrophe s" AT ALL.

The main possessive pronouns are: my, mine, yours, his, her, hers, its, our, ours, their, theirs, your, and yours.

Note well the use of ITS. I discuss ITS and IT'S elsewhere on this site. Remembering that possessive pronouns do not use "apostrophe s" should help you to remember the correct spelling for this tricky word.

(There is, of course, always some exception to the rule, otherwise it wouldn't be English, would it? In this case, one's is different, as in One's health is so important, you know.)

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 23:28
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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