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Genitive Case - Glossary of Terms

Genitive Case

The genitive case is one of the 4 main cases in modern English.  Whilst it has other uses (explained below), it is predominantly the form used to indicate possession.  For nouns, it is usually created by adding 's to the word or by preceding it with "of".


Carl's haircut
the edge of the table

There are several other ways of forming the genitive case:
Type Example Genitive Case
singular noun dog dog's dinner
plural nouns dogs dogs' dinner
singular noun ending s Chris Chris' hat or Chris's hat
plural nouns not ending s Men Men's room
Take out the hamster's wheel and open the back of the cage. [show me the genitive case]

When the genitive case is used to show possession, it may also be classified as the "possessive case".  


Dan's bike (genitive case and possessive case)

However, the genitive case does not always indicate possession.


children's songs (genitive case)
(In this example, the children do not own the songs.  They are songs for children.)
Constable's paintings (genitive case)
(Constable may not own the paintings. This denotes only that they are paintings by Constable.)

Possessive adjectives and possessive personal pronouns are also considered as being genitive forms.


our carpet (our - a genitive form of us)
Can I use yours? (yours - a genitive form of you

Associated pages:
Using apostrophes
Glossary of grammatical terms

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