Grammar Quest

Was it possible that I heard you groan through the computer? I am fully willing to recognize that the study of grammar may or may not be the most thrilling part of the study of language arts. However, whether we acknowledge it or not, the correctness or incorrectness of our speech and writing impacts what others think of us.

I also know that you are an intelligent group of students and this necessitates that we study a bit of grammar.


The possessive form of a singular noun is usually made by adding an apostrophe and s.

Eva’s ice cream President O’Bama’s speech

When a singular noun ends with an s or z sound, the possessive may be formed by adding just an apostrophe. When the singular noun is a one syllable word, however, the possessive is usually formed by adding both an apostrophe and s.

Dallas’ sports teams (singular noun ending with an s or z sound)

Kris’s last concert (one syllable word)

The possessive form of plural nouns ending in s is usually made by adding just an apostrophe.

Smiths’ great grandmother bosses’ office

High schools’ newspaper girls’ club

To help you use possessives correctly, remember that the word immediately before the apostrophe is the owner.

Bosses’ office (more than one boss owns the office)

Girl’s club (one girl own the club)

Girls’ club (more than one girl owns the club)

When possession is shared by more than one noun, use the possessive form for the last noun in the series.

When the possession is not shared, each noun ends with and apostrophe and s.

Jones, Smith, Brown and Craig’s grocery stores are making money in the economic downturn. (all four collectively own their own store. )

Jones’, Smith’s, Brown’s and Craig’s grocery stores (all four own their own individual store)

The possessive of a compound noun is formed by placing the possessive ending after the last word.

His mother-in-law’s purse

The possessive of an indefinite pronoun is formed by placing an apostrophe and s on the last word.

Anyone’s everyone’s somebody’s

An apostrophe is used with an adjective that is part of an expression indicating time or amount.

Yesterday’s news a day’s wage a month’s pay

Last modified: Monday, 1 October 2012, 8:55 AM