Nouns: Singular and Plural Possessive

Contributor: Elephango Editors. Lesson ID: 12428

Working with singular and plural possessive nouns can be a bit tricky. That little letter "s" can make a little mess! It really is not that hard, and when you complete this lesson you will "own" this!



English / Language Arts
learning style
personality style
Lion, Otter
Grade Level
Middle School (6-8)
Lesson Type
Skill Sharpener

Lesson Plan - Get It!

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If your friend Alexis owns a bike, is it Alexis' bike or Alexis's bike?

friends playing outside

If your group shares a table at lunchtime, is it everyones' table or everyone's table?

friends at lunch

Learn all the tricks of possessive nouns and amaze your friends -- or your friends' parents!

friend and her parents

In this lesson, we're going to take a look at possessive nouns. Possessive means that someone owns something.

man and his books

(Before moving on, if you missed either of the previous Nouns Related Lessons, catch them in the right-hand sidebar.)

Just like other nouns, possessive nouns can be singular or plural.

  • Singular means one.
  • Plural means more than one.


Look at the sentence:

The green cube's smile makes it look happy.

The word cube's is a singular possessive noun because cube is singular (one cube), and it owns its smile!

green cube

To make a singular noun possessive, add a an apostrophe (') and an s:

The kitten's ball is orange.


If the word already ends in s, you can just add an apostrophe or an apostrophe and an s. Either way is acceptable!

Chris' sandwich or Chris's sandwich



Now look at the sentence:

The red balls' frowns make them look sad.

The word balls' is a plural possessive noun because balls is plural (many balls), and they own their frowns!

To make a plural possessive noun possesive, there are a couple of rules to follow:

  • If it ends in an s, you simply add an apostrophe after the s.
  • If it doesn't end in s, you add an apostrophe and an s, ('s), as in: children's toys.

For a quick review of what you've learned, watch Punctuation: Using apostrophes to show singular & plural possession (KS2) by Discovery Education UK:

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Let's see how much you remember!

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  • Did you get them all correct?

If not, try again!

Now you're ready to go on to the Got It? section to practice this skill.

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