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Possessive Case - Glossary of Terms

Possessive Case

The possessive case is a subset of the genitive case, which is one of the 4 main cases in modern English.  It is the form used to indicate possession (i.e., ownership). It is usually created by adding 's to the word.


Carl's haircut (i.e., the haircut belonging to Carl - not a haircut by hairdresser Carl) / The man's coat (i.e., a coat belonging to a man - not a coat for a man) / the dog's dinner (i.e., the dinner of a specific dog - not a dinner fit only for a dog)

There are several other ways of forming the possessive case:
Type Example Possessive 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 People People's rights

Interactive example:
He used Mike's garage to store forgeries of Monet's paintings. [show me the possessive case]

In the example above, Monet's is not in the possessive case but the genitive case. This expression denotes that the paintings were by Monet. It does not indicate that Monet owned them.

Associated pages:
Apostrophes for possession
The genitive case
Glossary of grammatical terms

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