Follow US:

Practice English Speaking&Listening with: S’ or ‘S: Where do I put the apostrophe?

Difficulty: 0


Hey, E. I think these are Mr. E's socks or his sock.

E, is this yours?

Hi. James from engVid.

Today I'm going to do a lesson on the apostrophe, specifically about possession.

And actually, this sock is mine and I want to thank Giovana, Nathanial, J2 (Joal), and

Izis from Brazil because I taught them, and they bought me these beautiful socks.

So, give me a second; let me put them on.


Speaking of belonging, I want to go to the board and I want to do...

We'll explain a couple of ways we use the apostrophe to show possession in three different



So, the apostrophe is used for many things.

Contractions - when we say: "don't" or "can't".

Okay, you know that one.

But this lesson is specifically about possession.

If we look at single possession, that means one person owns something, we actually have

the thing, the noun (in this case, John), and we add the apostrophe plus "s".

This doesn't make it plural.

It means, in this case: "John's hat is red."

The hat belongs to John.

So, by adding this apostrophe "s" it tells us: Not plural, but it does belong to John.

Simple enough, right?

Add an apostrophe "s", you know it's belonging.

This is James' book, and this is actually a really good one because some people will

say you can't say: "James'" or "Charles'".

If you go to England, you can.

Check it out; we have another lesson on that, so do so.

But the apostrophe "s" means it belongs to a singular person.


So, when I said: "Mr. E's sock".

Next one, let's talk about plurals with "s".

Well, okay, we understand what a single thing is with "s", right?

But what happens if we have something like a plural, we have two boys and they have red

hats, how do we discuss that?

Well, simple.

Because "boys" has an "s" already, we don't need to add another apostrophe "s".

We simply put the apostrophe after the "s".

That indicates to us that you can imagine...

There's an imaginary "s", if I could.

There's an imaginary "s" that goes here, but it's not necessary because we know it's already

plural here and it's belongs to.

So: "The boys' hats are blue."

There are two boys and the hats belong to the boys, so: "The boys' hats are blue."


All right.

Let's move on to the next one, and what I want to talk about here is compound plurals.

Now, you might be saying: "What's a compound plural?"

Well, in this case, we're taking two objects and putting them together.

And maybe these two objects share the same thing and maybe they don't, and we can show

the difference by how we use our apostrophes.

Now, in this case, we're going to look at, well, Bill and Hillary.


Bill and Hillary have a house together.

So, if you want to talk about both of them and you don't want to say: "Bill's house is


Hillary's house is nice", you can actually say...

One and one is the same, if it's the same: "Bill and Hillary's", okay?

So: "Bill and Hillary's house is nice."

In this case, we're saying these are compounded, this is a conjunction, they're together, that's

why it's compound.

It's a compound noun; they go together.

We put the apostrophe "s" to say it's one unit...


Because it's a compound.

And because of that, this one unit has a nice house.


All right.

I know, you're smart and you're going: "But James, what if what they have is different;

they don't share the same thing?"

I'm glad you asked this, grasshopper, because what we're going to look at is an opinion.

Opinion, like shoes or socks, can be different.

And I'm going to show you that example here, because in this case, we do have a compound.

These two things are together, but they are different; they don't share the same thing.

In this case, we can see that Barbara is saying: "No", while George is saying: "Yes".

We can't say they have the same opinion; we have to say it differently.

So, we put an apostrophe "s" here to say Barbara is single and George is single, and it gives

the idea that these things are not the same.

All right?

We might say the opinion is the same, the word "opinion", but what they share in opinions

are different, and we illustrate that by saying: "No" and "Yes".

And in this sentence: "Barbara's and George's opinions were different."

We have the compound, right?

They're together, as in joined with a compound, this conjunction, but each opinion is different.

So, it could be said: "Barbara's opinion was different."

And: "George's opinion was different."

That's two sentences.

It's complex, but we can make it simpler by making a compound noun and then saying their

opinions were different.


Do you like that?

So, now that I think you've got it, I'm going to give you a little rule that will help you

if you're still a little bit confused, okay?

And it's the rule of "of".

So, let's go to the board.

So, if you can put "of" in the sentence, you need...


I should have thought about this, but it's "an apostrophe" because it starts with an


But anyways, so you need an apostrophe.

So, let's use an example: "John's hat is red."



Now, if you're going: "I'm a bit confused", we can make a sentence, and I don't like it,

but you can say: "The hat of John is red."

That would make sense, and it'd be okay, but we find, in English especially, that it's

better to show the possession through the apostrophe "s".


You could also say: "That hats of the boys are blue.", or: "The boys had blue hats.",

or: "The boys' hats are blue."

I'll just put "the": "The boys' hats are blue."

See that rule?


We could follow it over here, you know: The opinion of George and the opinion of...

You get it.

We don't have to go through that again.

But what we do know...

Actually, I shouldn't say you get it because you know we're going to do the test, and when

we do the test I'll check to see if you know, and you can see how well you've learned this


Are you ready?

Let's go to the board.


Let's go to the board.


So, I want to do a little thing before we start; just a tiny, little thing because I

want to add into the lesson.

What I wanted to mentioned is that right here: When you use words like: "my", "hers", "his",

or "theirs", they're called possessive pronouns.

You don't add an apostrophe "s" there.

You probably know that already, but just in case you don't, I'm just going to give you

a quick lesson on that.


So, don't add an apostrophe with "theirs" or "hers".

You can see there's an "s" here, it's not necessary.

They're pronouns that show possession, so it's understood that they belong to someone.

All right?

"His", "hers", "ours", "theirs", "my".


Now, let's go to the board and we're going to take a look at some sentences.

Now, I want to see how well you understand or you've mastered the lesson, because you

should be able to know where there is an apostrophe needed or if one's not needed.

So, let's go to the board and take a look at the following sentences.

"Alices opinion of Toms house was very different to mine'.

I thought his house was too expensive, while Alice thought it was cheap.

When we arrived at Toms house, both Alices' opinion and my' opinion had changed.

I thought of..."


"I thought all of the rooms colours were great, while she thought only the bedrooms colour

was nice."

Now, these sentences can lead to some confusion if it's a plural or if it's singular.


And who it belongs to, and whether or not it should have an apostrophe.

So, the first thing I want to do is identify what we should change.

Now, before I get started, if you think you know what you're doing, and some of you do,

I'm going to tell you to pause right now, make the corrections, and then you can come

back and see how we do.

If you don't know or you're not sure, or you...

Hey, you just want to play with me, we'll go to the board and I'll explain each one

to you.


And then we'll make our corrections down there.

So, those of you guys who want to do it by yourself, I'd say stop now.


And the rest of you, let's go to the board.

The first thing to show that we've learned the lesson is to identify.

So, I'm going to look right here: "Alices opinion".

It belongs to Alice, so I'm going to say: "Alices opinion" I think we have to correct,


Now, "Toms house", I think the house is his, so we have to correct that one.

What about "mine'"?

I mentioned something a few minutes ago about "mine" and apostrophes, or "my" for possessive


Let's see, where are we?

So: "I thought his'"-okay-"house was too expensive, while Alice thought it was cheap when we arrived

at", and there's "Toms house" again.

I want to look at that.

And I also see "Alices' opinion" has shown up.

Let's take a look at that.

"' opinion", similar to "mine", okay, we got that.

And: "I thought all of the rooms colours", interesting.

I think I have to look at that.


And I'm saying that because I've got "all", so I think this is a plural, but I'm not too

sure; we'll come back.

And: "were great, while she thought only"-we got to look here-"the bedrooms colour was


Now that we've underlined each one, let's take a look what it is.

"Alices opinion".

We're going to come down here and we'll fix it up, and put the apostrophe if it's needed

or we'll take it away if it's not.

First things first: "Alices opinion".

So, "Alices opinion" will require an apostrophe because the opinion belongs to Alice.

"Toms house", now, these are single objects, right?

So, we know it's apostrophe "s" from the last lesson.

Apostrophe "s", okay?

Because they're single objects.


"...different to mine'".

Well, we know "mine" and "my" means belongs to, so this actually isn't necessary.

"I thought his' house", and once again, there's an apostrophe here.

Luckily I forgot to put it on, but you've already guessed.

"...his house", we don't need it.


"I thought his house was to"... Oops. "...too expensive, while Alice thought it was cheap".

No change here because we said: "Alice thought", it's not her opinion; it's just a verb we


"When we arrived at", now, we looked at "Toms house", here, once again, it's single and

we show it belongs to Tom by putting the apostrophe "s".

"Both Alices' opinion"...

Now, here's the thing: We do have an apostrophe, great.

But this apostrophe is in the wrong place.


It's a single thing, so it should go here.

So: "Alice's opinion and my opinion had changed".

No apostrophe needed for "my"; it's possessive pronoun.

"I thought all", now notice "all" means more than one.

So, this is plural.

So: "I thought all of the rooms colours", and that's what can lead to confusion because

it's not just possessive.

Saying "all", I'm talking about more than one room, so I have to say: "all of the rooms'

colours were great, while she thought only the bedrooms"...

"Only" can usually, and a lot of times means one.

And in saying that, it's not "bedrooms"; she's talking about "only" as in: "one bedroom's

colour was nice".


You have to be careful on that, because you could have thought this was plural and this

was singular, or this was plural and not possessive.

But I know you paid attention to the lesson and I know you understood all of that.


So, I want to go and give you a bit of a bonus.

Now, those of you I hope who had done it by yourself, you'd gone through this, you had

come up to the same things or come up with the same things we have where the apostrophe

should go, if there should be an apostrophe on it at all (like "mine" or "my"), and if

it was meaning singular or if it was meaning plural, and how we find that out.


I'm sure you did a good job.

Just as a bonus, I'm going to talk about plural nouns.

And you might say: "Plural nouns?

I thought we were just talking about..."


When I mean plural nouns now, I mean words that are plural of themselves.

"Children", "teeth", they are plural; you don't add an "s" to make it "childrens" or


All right?

However, when we want to show possession, we will, as I said here: Plural nouns don't

end in an "s", like "children".

We add the apostrophe "s" for possession, so: "The children's room" or "The people's


As you know, "people" is plural, so you don't need an "s", but by adding "the people's court",

we know it belongs to the people.

And as "the children's room", we know it belongs to multiple children; three, four children

in one room.


All right.

Now, for fun, as you know, we want you to do homework because you did well here, but

you can only get better if you work on...

You know, work on this more.

So, what I'd like you to do is I want you to create some sentences to show possession

for each case.

In this case, Mr. Lee...

Mr. E. Mr. E left a pen on a table.

How would you show it's his pen?

What words would you use?

Would you use a possessive pronoun?

Would you just add an apostrophe "s"?

Your choice; you have fun with it.

Now, we have two groups of girls had many shoes.

So we want to show this is also plural, as well as possessive.

How will you do that one?

And finally, write a sentence using "his" or "theirs", or you can say "hers", and I

want you to show possession using that.

Of course, I'm going to ask you to go to do the quiz when you're done, but you can also

share your answers on the bottom of this video; many people do.

Or you can go and join the community on engVid and talk back there, and you guys can share

amongst each other which ones you think are, you know, the best sentence or ask for help.

Anyway, I want you to get...

I hope you enjoyed the lesson, number one.

And I want you to continue getting the lessons that we do.

And I want to say thank you for watching this video and watching every video we do.

You can go to

Don't forget to press the subscriber button; it's somewhere around here.

If you click on that bell, you'll get the latest video that I do.

As always, it's been a pleasure teaching you and I look forward to seeing you later.


Have a good one.

The Description of S’ or ‘S: Where do I put the apostrophe?