The English Genitive (‘s)

You will study the English Genitive (‘s).


The English Genitive (‘s)

Family structure in the US

Instructions: Read about the traditional family structure in the US.

The traditional family structure in the United States is considered a family support system involving two married individuals providing care and stability for their biological offspring. However, this two-parent nuclear family has become less prevalent and alternative family forms have become more common. The family is created at birth and establishes ties across generations. Those generations, the extended family of aunts, uncles, grandparents, and cousins, can hold significant emotional and economic roles for the nuclear family.

Family structure in the US. Retrieved October, 2016 from


Getting started: Nuclear family

Instructions: Read the following information about the Nuclear family in the US:

The nuclear family has been considered the “traditional” family since the communist scare in the Cold War of the 1950s. The nuclear family consists of a mother, father, and the children. The two-parent nuclear family has become less prevalent and pre-American and European family forms have become more common.

These include same-sex relationships, single-parent household, adopting individuals, and extended family systems living together. The nuclear family is also choosing to have fewer children than in the past.

Family structure in the US. Retrieved October, 2016 from

‘s for family relationship

Instructions: Choose True or False for the following statements

1. My mother is my father’s wife.

2. My brother is my father’s brother.

3. My children are my parent’s grandchildren.

4. My father is my son’s grandfather.

5. My grandfather is my husband’s father.

Let’s study the English genitive (‘s) for possession and to indicate family relationship.

Instructions: Look at the following information about The English genitive (‘s):

The Apostrophe S - ('S) is used to show possession, that something belongs to another or a type of relationship between things and people.

We normally use the ’s with people, animals though it can also be used with places, organizations and companies (which suggest a group of people). It is not common to use the ’s with non-living things.

Singular nouns

add ’s (apostrophe S):

  • My father’s house is next to mine. (= the house of my father)
  • Peter’s car is new. (= the car of Peter)
Plural nouns ending in –s

only add the apostrophe ' (without the S)

  • The two brothers’ house is next to the cinema. (= the house of the two brothers)
  • The plumbers’ tools were rusty. (= the tools of the plumbers
Plural nouns not ending in –s:

add ’s

  • The children’s toys are on the floor. (= the toys of the children)
  • The women’s bathroom is over there. (= the bathroom of the women)
Singular noun ending in –s:

It depends…

a. Most names: add  's (apostrophe S)

  • They had a really good time at James’s barbecue last Friday.
  • We spent the day admiring Frances’s new car.

b. Classical or religious names: add ' (only the apostrophe)

  • Jesus' disciples carried out the teachings of Jesus.
  • Sophocles' plays are still performed today.

If there are two owners of something, we add 's to the final name:

  • John and Sue’s car is quite old.

But, if each person owns a car, then add 's to both names:

  • John’s and Sue’s cars are quite old.

Notice how the verb is in plural form.

No Noun

If the meaning is clear, we can use the possessive without a noun after it.

  • Her hair is longer than Jane’s. (= Jill’s hair)
  • We ate at Harry’s last night. (= Harry’s Diner or Harry’s house)

Look at the way we express family relationship:

  • My mother’s father – the father of my mother
  • My sister’s husband – the husband of my sister

The apostrophe S – (‘s). Retrieved and adapted October, 2016 from


Use ‘s to indicate possession.

Instructions: Write the sentences.

  1. house of my father : .
  2. girlfriend of Robert : .
  3. father of the boys : .
  4. car of that man : .
  5. program of the Simpsons : .
  6. doneCheck



Instructions: Choose the appropriate option to complete the sentences.

1. My son’s daughter is Emma. She is my _____.

2. My mother’s father is Ray. He is my ______.

3. Rossy is my mother’s sister. She is my _______.

4. My father’s mother is Elizabeth. She is my _______.

5. My father’s sister is Julia. She is my _____.


Evaluation: A family tree.

Instructions: Look at the family tree. Then choose one of the following words to complete the sentences:

  1. Joseph is Mary’s .
  2. Mary is Jessica and Steven’s .
  3. Alan is Vanessa’s .
  4. Angela is Steven’s .
  5. Justin is Michael’s .
  6. doneCheck