Possessive Nouns: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Shelly Merrell

Shelly has a Master's of Education. Most recent professional experience is an educational diagnostician. Prior, she taught for 8 years.

You probably know a lot about nouns already. But did you know that some nouns own, or possess, other nouns? This lesson looks at possessive nouns and how to use them.

Hey! That is Mine!

The flipper that belongs to the dolphin is wet.

The leaves that belong to those plants are green.

These sentences sound awkward, don't they? We don't usually talk or write like this. So, how can we improve these sentences? How about:

The dolphin's flipper is wet.

The plants' leaves are green.

Now those sentences sound like what we would use when we're speaking. What we just did was create possessive nouns, nouns that show ownership. Let's look more at this idea.

Nouns

An apple, a horse, and a grocery store have at least one thing in common - they're nouns. A noun is a person, place, thing, or idea. Nouns can be singular or plural.

'Candle' and 'blanket' are singular nouns. There is only one of each of them.

'Chairs' and 'butterflies' are plural nouns. There is more than one of each.

Let's see if you've got it. Which of the following is the noun?

  • Shoe
  • New
  • Run

If you knew it was 'shoe,' you've got it. A shoe is a thing, which makes it a noun. In this instance, 'shoe' is singular.

Let's try again.

  • Sees
  • Walks
  • Roses

I'm sure you know the noun here. Since roses are a type of flower, and they are things, they must be nouns. Now, is 'roses' singlular or plural? Plural this time.

Possessive Nouns

A possessive noun is a special person, place, or thing. This noun shows ownership of an object or another noun and tells who or what it belongs to.

The teacher's chalk is broken.

Which of these words is a person, place or thing? 'Teacher' and 'chalk' are both nouns. Now, which of these nouns shows ownership, meaning it has something? 'Teacher.' The teacher possesses, or owns, the chalk. It's a singular possessive noun because there is only one teacher.

The girls' lanterns were in the air.

'Girls' are people and 'lanterns' are things, so they must be nouns. Which of these has ownership of something? Girls! The girls own the lanterns. Since there is more than one girl, it is a plural possessive noun.

Apostrophes

Did you notice the punctuation marks we added when making possessive nouns? Those little lines in the air are apostrophes ('). When we combine them with the letter s, together they show possession.

An 's is used for a singular noun. 'The kitten's tail is long.'

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