A possessive noun is a noun that shows ownership of something. Possessive nouns are commonly created with the addition of an apostrophe and ‘s’ at the end of a noun. For example:

  • This is the cat’s toy.

This sentence shows that the cat owns the toy, making the noun cat possessive by adding an apostrophe and an ‘s’. Therefore, because of the apostrophe and the ‘s’, we can see that the toy belongs to the cat.

How do you know if a noun is possessive?

A possessive noun is represented through an apostrophe, the letter ‘s’, or both. So, when trying to figure out if it’s a regular or possessive noun, look out for the apostrophe and the ‘s’.

However, an apostrophe and an ‘s’ on some nouns can also represent a contraction – two words squashed together to make one word. For example, ‘The girl’s could be a possessive noun, or it could mean ‘The girl is.

In this case, you should see whether a second noun follows the noun – the second noun is usually what the first noun has. If a verb or adverb follows the noun, it’s not possessive.

First Noun (Possessive)

Second Noun




was blue.




is wagging.




are flat.

It is why it’s essential to take care when writing possessive nouns – they’re similar to contractions, which is where it can get confusing. However, as long as children take the time to learn the differences between them and the uses of both, they should master possessive nouns and contractions.

What is a possessive noun example?

Now that we know how to spot a possessive noun, can you spot the possessive nouns in these sentences?

  1. Is this Brandon’s book on the table?
  2. On our trip to the zoo, we saw lots of colorful animals. The parrot’s feathers were in lots of different colors.
  3. We have been invited for tea at Sarah’s house
  4. The trainer flipped a fish into the walrus’ open mouth.
  5. The chicken’s eggs were taken by the farmer early in the morning.

Singular Noun

Possessive Noun

Example Sentence



Don’t touch the cat’s toy.



This is Brittany’s essay.



The computer’s hard drive is full.

What is a possessive plural noun?

Plural nouns can be transformed into possessive nouns too.

When plural nouns end in an ‘s’, you must add an apostrophe to form a possessive noun.

Plural Noun

Possessive Plural Noun

Example Sentence



The plants’ home is in my backyard.



The windows’ glass was broken.



The eggs’ colors differed significantly.



The cats’ treats are in the cupboard.



The houses’ doors are all painted red.

Of course, many plural nouns in English are irregular and don’t end in ‘s’. Check out this example of a plural possessive noun in a sentence:

  • The children’s clothes were brand new.

The plural of ‘child’ isn’t ‘childs’ – it’s ‘children’. Although plural, it doesn’t end in an ‘s’. So, to make it possessive, we add an apostrophe and an ‘s’.

Here are a few more examples of plural possessive nouns.

Plural Noun

Possessive Plural Noun

Example sentence



Women’s right to vote took 100 years to achieve.



The cattle’s field was enormous.



The geese’s eggs were hidden.

What is an abstract possessive noun?

We have focused on indicating possession of a physical feature or object. Now it’s time to step it up a gear into the abstract.

Sometimes the idea of possession is more abstract. For example, when you talk about how long you’ve been doing something, you can use an apostrophe to claim that time as a possession.

  • I have three years’ experience working as a shop assistant.

However, you can also write this differently using the word ‘of’ instead of the apostrophe.

  1. I have three years of experience working as a shop assistant.
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