possessive’s: use

  • Meanings
    We can use the possessive’s to talk about several different sorts of ideas. The meaning is often similar to the meaning of have.
      That’s my father’s house. (My father has that house.)
      Mary’s brother is a lawyer (Mary has a brother who is a lawyer.) the plan’s importance (the importance that the plan has)

    Other meanings are possible.

      I didn’t believe the girl’s story. (The girl told a story.)
      Have you read John’s letter? (John wrote a letter.)
      the government’s decision (The government made a decision.)
      the train’s arrival (The train arrived.)
  • ‘s and of
    We use the possessive structure (A’s B) most often when the first noun (A) is the name of something living. In other cases, we often use a structure with of {the B of A). Compare:
      my father’s house (not the bouse of my father)
      the plan’s importance OR the importance of the plan
  • Time expressions
    We often use the possessive to refer to particular times, days, weeks etc.
      this evening’s performance.
      last Sunday’s paper
      next week’s TV programmes
      this year’s profits

    But we do not use the possessive when the expression of time has a ‘general’ meaning.

      the nine o’clock news (not the nine o’clock’s news)
      a Sunday newspaper (NOT a Sunday’s newspaper)

    We also use the possessive in ‘measuring’ expressions of time which begin with a number.
    ten minutes ‘ walk two weeks ‘ holiday

  • noun + noun
    We can also put two nouns together in the structure noun + noun (for example a table leg; a Sunday newspaper).