Plurals, Possession and Contractions
Plurals, possession and contractions create many problems in the English language .
When to add simply an -s, when to add 's (or s'), and what are the different meanings associated with this letter?
The general rule is that we add an -s to words to make them plural in English, and we add an 's or an s' to make the word possessive. For example:
- one dog, two dogs;
- the dog's bone (one dog, one bone),
- the dog's bones (one dog, many bones) and
- the dogs' bones (many dogs, many bones).
Many common words have irregular plural forms which must simply be memorised:
- One man, several men, one woman, a group of women. Their possessive form is formed in the same way: the man's coat, the men's coats (notice the position of the 's); the woman's children (one woman, many children), the women's children (many women, many children).
This method is the same for proper names:
- Samuel Jackson has a hat, it is Samuel Jackson's hat. He has a wife and two children, so they are the Jacksons. Every year they have a party and invite their friends to the Jacksons' house.
It's and its can be more complicated.
- It's means it is, while its is the possessive form. 'It's a nice day for a walk' means it is, while 'The dog chews its bone' means that the dog possesses the bone.