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Genitive Case

Grammar - Genitive Case

The Genitive Case (or Possessive Case) is typical of the English Language through the use of an apostrophe (‘) followed or not by S . It is basically used to show that something belongs or is associated with someone or some element. The ‘S comes after the name of the possessor. Look:


The name of the girl is Lauren. The girl‘s name is Lauren.

The shoe that belongs to Cinderela – Cinderela‘s shoe.

The blouse that belongs to my friend – My friend‘s blouse.

The house that belongs to my grandchildren – My grandchildren‘s house.

The computers that belong to our parents – Our parents computer.

Normally use  ‘s for animals, people and places:

The cat’s food is expensive.

Daniel’s book is here.

Brazil’s beaches are beautiful.

Use  ‘s with periods of time and time expressions:

John took a year’s course to become a teacher.

She lives far from here. It’s a day’s journey.

But for things, ideas, etc., usually use of:

The color of a house can change everything. (and NOT the house’s color)

The source of his illness is unknown. (and NOT the illness’s source)

First Name or Last Name ending in S you can add just  ‘ or  ‘s:

Mrs Williams sons or Mrs Williams‘s sons.

When there is more than one noun possessing something in common add  ‘s in the last noun:

Charles and Diana‘s wedding. (That means it’s both wedding).

When there are more than one noun possessing different things add  ‘s in all nouns:

Joshua’s and Rose’s friends (That means Joshua’s friends are different from Rose’s friends).

How to make Possessive Nouns:

– singular nouns: + ‘s

My dad’s car

Jack and Daisy’s house

The dog’s mouth

My cousin’s store

The photographer’s camera

– most plural nouns + ‘

Those boys’ toys

The grandmothers’ stories

The thieves’ names

The dogs’ ears

The ladies’ hats

– plural without s: + ‘s

The men’s passports

The women’s clothes

The children’s parents

The postmen’s letters

The policemen’s guns


Pay Attention!!!

It’s possible to use more than one possessive noun.

My cousin has got a teacher. He has got a wife. = My cousin’s teacher’s wife.

Laura has got daughters. They have got toys. = Laura’s daughters’ toys.


Also learn from Captain English about Definite and Indefinite Articles.