Confusing Possessive Words with Plural Words

In short, you add an apostrophe before an ‘s’ to show possession. What does all this mean? We’ll do this step by step.

What is a plural word?

The plural of a word refers to more than one.

For example:

Correct  Our neighbors have three dogs.

Incorrect  Our neighbor’s have three dogs.

Possessive vs plural words

The apostrophe is seldom used to form a plural noun.

There are some rare exceptions to the rule for certain abbreviations, letters or words.

For example:

She received two B’s and three C’s in her report card.

Make sure to dot your I’s and cross your t’s.

We hired three new M.D.’s.

What is a possessive noun?

A possessive noun is a noun that has something. Most possessive nouns are formed by adding an apostrophe and an s to the noun.

For example:

In the following sentence, the girl owns a pencil, so it’s the girl’s pencil.

Correct  The girl’s pencil snapped in half.

Incorrect  The girls pencil snapped in half.

Possessive vs plural words

Apostrophes in plural words

Most plural nouns already end in s, such as dogs, pens, spoons, tables.

In this case, to indicate possession, we add an apostrophe after the s.

For example:

Correct  The boys’ baseball team won the tournament.

Incorrect The boys baseball team won the tournament.

Possessive vs plural words

In cases where the plural noun does not end in s, we add apostrophe and s to the end of the plural word.

For example:

Correct  The children’s mother likes to play soccer with them.

Incorrect  The childrens’ mother likes to play soccer with them.

Incorrect  The childrens mother likes to play soccer with them.

Possessive vs plural words

Possessive nouns vs. plural nouns worksheets

In our grade 3 grammar section, we have a set of worksheets for students to practice the use of apostrophes in sentences.

Possessive vs plural words worksheets