Using apostrophes to show possession

To learn how to use possessive apostrophes correctly in your writing.

This lesson includes:

  • one video to help you understand how and when to use apostrophes to show possession

  • three activities

Learn

A possessive apostrophe shows that something belongs to or is connected to something else.

Watch this clip to learn how to use possessive apostrophes.

Learn how to use a possessive apostrophe.

Singular nouns

A singular noun is a noun referring to just one person or thing.

For example: Cat

When you want to show that something belongs to that person or thing, you add a possessive apostrophe and an s.

For example: The cat's tail was fluffy.

's shows that the tail belongs to the cat.

Top tip

If a singular noun already ends in s, you don't need to add another s. You can just add an apostrophe at the end.

For example: Charles' cat was naughty.

Plural nouns ending in s

Plural nouns refer to more than one person or thing.

For example: Brothers

To show possession when the noun is plural and already ends in s, you just add an apostrophe to the end of the word. You don't need to add an extra s.

For example:

The brothers' feet were muddy.

The girls' bathroom was a mess.

Practise

You may need paper and a pen or pencil for some of these activities.

Activity 1

Complete this activity by rewriting the sentences using possessive apostrophes.

Top tip!

Decide whether the noun is singular or plural to help you figure out where to put the apostrophe.

Activity 2

Read each word and select whether it is a singular or plural noun.

Activity 3

Write these plural words out and add an apostrophe for possession.

Remember when adding an apostrophe for possession to plural words you add the apostrophe after the s at the end.

For example: cows = cows'

  • goats =
  • brothers =
  • snakes =

Choose one of the words and write a sentence using it.

For example: The cows' barn was smelly.

Where next?

In this lesson you have learnt how to use possessive apostrophes correctly in your writing.

There are other useful articles on Bitesize to help improve your punctuation skills.

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