What is the Possessive Case? Possessive Cases Definition and Examples

What is the Possessive Case? Possessive Cases Definition and Examples

Possessive Cases

The possessive case denotes possession. A noun can be changed from a basic person, place, or thing to a person, place, or thing that owns something by adding’s (or occasionally simply the apostrophe). The possessive of a noun can be formed in a few distinct ways. These methods will be discussed further down.

Add an “s” to the end of the noun if it doesn’t already have one. Consider the following scenarios:

  • This is Maia and her cat. The cat is Maia’s pet; Maia is not the cat’s pet.
  • This is the way to the girl’s room.
  • He got a job in the student’s section of the library.


If a proper name ends with an “s”, you can add just the apostrophe or an apostrophe and an “s”.

  • You’re sitting in Tomas’ chair.
  • You’re sitting in Tomas’s chair.
  • Have you seen Janis’ car?
  • Have you seen Janis’s car?
  • Where is Jess’ computer bag?
  • Where is Jess’s computer bag?
  • I’m in Mrs. Jon’s class this year.
  • I’m in Mrs. Jons’s class this year.


When dealing with plural nouns that end in “s,” however, you should only use the apostrophe. This is also true when you have a plural proper noun.

  • This is the girl’s bedroom.
  • My parents’ house is a lovely new one.
  • The scissors’ handles just snapped off.
  • The Crimsons’ yard is always beautifully landscaped.


Singular Possessive Nouns

  • Banana’s taste
  • Book’s cover
  • Boss’s bike
  • Cat’s tuna
  • Computer’s keyboard
  • Dane’s book
  • Diabetes’s symptoms
  • Fish’s eggs
  • Goddess’s beauty
  • Gym’s rules
  • House’s roof
  • Jam’s ingredient
  • Laundry’s smell
  • Lawyer’s fee
  • Month’s work
  • Sun’s rays
  • Today’s newspaper
  • Tray’s usefulness
  • Tree’s bark


Plural Possessive Nouns

  • Americans’ ideals
  • Babies’ shoes
  • Cabbages’ nutrition
  • Donors’ cards
  • Eggs’ color
  • Juices’ flavors
  • Lemons’ acidity
  • Members’ votes
  • Nuts’ saltiness
  • Owls’ eyes
  • Quizzes’ difficulty
  • Students’ grades
  • Unicorns’ power
  • Violins’ melody


  • Women’s clothes
  • Children’s toys
  • Mice’s traps
  • People’s ideas
  • Nuclei’s form
  • Cacti’s thorns
  • Octopi’s legs
  • Oxen’s diet
  • Die’s roll
  • Lice’s size
  • Giraffes’ strength


Singular & Plural Possessive Pronouns

  • That handbag is mine.
  • My new car runs great.
  • His work is so good.
  • Her diet is not working
  • The toothpaste is hers.
  • The house is ours.
  • I see your coat. (singular)
  • It is all yours. (plural)
  • Their smiles are quite adorable. (singular)
  • The fault is theirs. (plural)
  • Its name is The Tower.


Let’s reinforce the issue with a few mixed examples:

  • My cousin doesn’t have an account because she doesn’t know her mother’s maiden name. (These two are clearly about possession. They mean: “the mother of her” and “the maiden name of her mother.”)
  • You can tell a lot about a fellow’s character by his way of eating jellybeans. (President Ronald Reagan) (Clearly, these two are about possession.) They signify “a person’s character” and “his manner of life.”)