- the chair’s legs (one chair)
- the chairs’ legs (two or more chairs)
In this instance the number of chairs does not matter, the apostrophe is dictated by the possessor (who owns it, in this case the chair) and not the possessed (in what is owned, in this case the legs). See another example below:
|one orange||more than one orange|
|one student||the student’s orange||the student’s oranges|
|more than one student||the students’ orange||the students’ oranges|
The structure can be used for a whole phrase:
- the dog collar’s size (the size of the collar of the dog)
- the President’s daughter’s phone (the phone of the daughter of the president)
One would think that of is enough to show possession, but in reality it is more common to use ‘s to show possession. This can be confusing for Spanish speakers since of is commonly used in their language. Below you will see two phrases that are both correct, but the second one is more common:
- the sister of his neighbor
- his neighbor’s sister
Proper Nouns (Names)
Possessive is regularly used with proper nouns, such as names, as illustrated below:
- Hold John’s phone.
- Find Sally’s purse.
- Do you like Jaime’s new haircut?
- Is that Harold’s gift?
If a person ends with an s we still use the ‘s to indicate possession. It follows the rules for other singular nouns:
- Search for Louis’s car.
For nouns that have irregular plurals (those that form a plural without adding an s) we treat them as singular noun by adding ‘s to create the possessive.
|singular noun||plural noun|
|the child’s||the children’s|
|the person’s||the people’s|
|the woman’s right||the women’s right|
|the foot’s size||the feet’s size|
|The tooth’s decay||The teeth’s decay|