This is Lesson 15 of our Basic English Series.
Parts of Speech 2.6
Pronouns Part 6 – Possessive Nouns and Pronouns
Possessive nouns and pronouns are forms that can show ownership. This is also referred to as Possessive Cases of Nouns and Pronouns. We have combined these two different forms between the two parts of speech for you to be able to understand and see the applications more clearly. Let us see some examples and then discuss them later.
- This car is Jack’s. (Possessive Noun)
- This is our school. (Possessive Pronoun)
- Is that your mother? (Possessive Pronoun)
- That is Ivan’s phone. (Possessive Noun)
- This is the student’s book. (Possessive Pronoun)
- This is her book. (Possessive Pronoun)
- That house is James’. (Possessive Noun)
- These are students’ books. (Possessive Pronoun)
- That house is his. (Possessive Pronoun)
- This pen is hers. (Possessive Pronoun)
In the above examples, take note the three sentences that refer to possession of nouns (Sentence 1, 4 and 7) and there are two variations. Let us first focus on examples 4 and 5.
Principle to remember: When addressing ownership to a proper and common noun and singular number in the third person, we use apostrophe (‘) and the letter s to indicate possession (Ivan’s and student’s).
In example 7, the proper noun James ends in letter s and the possessive case is indicated by the apostrophe after (James’).
In example 8, the common noun students is in the plural form and ends in letter s and the possessive case is indicated by the apostrophe after (students’).
Principle to remember: When addressing ownership to a common noun that ends with letter s in its plural number in the third person, and a proper noun that ends with letter s, we use apostrophe (‘) after the letter s to indicate possession (students’ in example 9, and James’ in example 7 above).
Please take note about pronunciation: In speaking, the s should be emphasized twice on the proper nouns ending with s.
Jones – Jones’ (pronounced as Joneses)
Chris – Chris’ (pronounced as Chrises)
Jesus – Jesus’ (pronounced as Jesuses)
In some cases writers add another s after the apostrophe to form the possessive. This is also acceptable, but in written English the apostrophe without another s already indicates possession.
Most of the above examples are in the third person. How about the second and first person applications? Let us take a closer look.
Second Person Possessive pronouns (your and yours)
Principle to remember: The possessive noun your comes first before the object owned. Another word, or words, such as adjective or adverb can also be in between. The possessive noun yours is usually located after the object owned and before a linking verb (is or are). They can be in the subject or predicate of the sentence.
Is that your mother? (Interrogative. The object owned is mother)
She is your mother. (Declarative)
She is your beautiful mother. (Declarative with the adjective beautiful in between, in the predicate)
She is your real mother. (Declarative with the adverb real in between in the predicate)
Your mother is beautiful. (The possessive pronoun is in the subject of the sentence)
Your beautiful and kind-hearted mother inspired us. (The possessive pronoun is in the subject of the sentence with adjectives in between)
First Person Possessive Pronouns (my and mine, our and ours)
My – Possessive pronoun is singular in number that can be used in the subject or predicate of a sentence.
Example: My face felt the cold breeze.
Mine – Possessive pronoun is singular in number and only used in the predicate of a sentence.
Example: That document is mine.
Our – Plural in number that can be used in the subject or predicate of a sentence.
Example: Our school won most of the awards.
Ours – Plural in number and only used in the predicate of a sentence.
Example: All those medals ang trophies are ours.
As in the case of the second person application, modifiers (adjectives and adverbs) may also be added in between the possessive pronouns and the object owned in the first and third persons.
Here is another rule in the English Language Grammar to keep in mind regarding the above.
ELGR19: Use the correct form of personal possessive pronouns and do not use an apostrophe to indicate ownership or possession: my, mine, your, yours, his, hers, its, our, ours, their, theirs, whose.
The topics on possessive nouns and pronouns seem complicated but they are actually easy. You don’t need to memorize anything. However, there is one more in the possessive pronouns along with three English Language Grammar Rules (ELGR) that you need to remember to wrap up this topic. We will cover this in the next lesson.
See you there.
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