Basic English Grammar (Part 4) - English Language Proficiency & Communication Skills

The Apostrophe S - ('S)

Possessive Case - Genitive Case

  The Rules:
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.
A. Singular nouns
add 's (apostrophe S)
  • My mother’s house is next to the beach. (= the house of my mother)
  • Jason’s car was stolen last night. (= the car of Jason)
  • Tomorrow, we’re all going to see the museum’s new art exhibit.
B. Plural nouns ending in –s
only add the apostrophe (without the S)
  • The two sisters’ house is next to mine. (= the house of the two sisters)
  • The plumbers’ tools were rusty. (= the tools of the plumbers)
  • The players’ boots were dirty and smelly after the game. (= the boots of the players)
Notice that the pronunciation is the same for certain possessives:
  • My friend’s house = the house of my friend = 1 friend
  • My friends’ house = the house of my friends = 2 or more friends
You can usually distinguish whether the speaker is referring to one or two friends by listening to the context of what the speaker says.
C. Plural nouns not ending in –s:
add 's
  • Be careful not to trip over the children’s toys. (= the toys of the children)
  • The women’s bathroom is currently flooded with water.
  • The presidential candidate is often called the people’s favorite politician.
D. 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.
E. Possessive nouns as part of a phrase
Sometimes more than one word/noun is a possessive. The same rules as above are still valid:
  • The King of Sparta’s wife was called Helen.
  • The President of Chile’s speech was very long.
  • I accidentally took someone else’s bag home by mistake.
  • I had to give my boss three weeks’ notice that I was leaving the company.
If there are two owners of something, we add 's to the final name:
  • Rick and Steve’s car is quite old.
But, if each person owns a car, then add 's to both names:
  • Rick’s and Steve’s cars are quite old.
Notice how the verb is in plural form.
F. No Noun
If the meaning is clear, we can use the possessive without a noun after it.
  • Her hair is longer than Jill’s. (= Jill’s hair)
  • We ate at Billy’s last night. (= Billy’s Diner or Billy’s house)
  • Whose bag is this? It’s Jane’s.  (= Jane’s bag)

Have - Has - Go - Goes

Conjugation of Have and Go
To Have = To show possession / a quality
To Go = to show movement (travel) in a specific direction

Usually we only add 'S' to a verb when we conjugate it in the third person but notice how To Have and To Go are slightly irregular (though they still both end in S).
Have and Go in Negative Sentences
To make a negative sentence in English with To Have and To Go we use Don't or Doesn't followed by Have or Go(never Has or Goes).
Affirmative: You have a pen.
Negative: You don't have a pen.
You will see that we add don't between the subject and the verb. We use Don't when the subject is Iyouwe orthey.
Affirmative: He has a pencil.
Negative: He doesn't have a pencil.
When the subject is heshe or it, we add doesn't between the subject and the verb to make a negative sentence.
Word Order of Negative Sentences

The following is the word order to construct a basic negative sentence in English in the Present Tense using Don't orDoesn't.

* Verb: The verb that goes here is the base form of the infinitive = the infinitive without TO before the verb. Instead of the infinitive to have it is just the have part.
Remember that the infinitive is the verb before it is conjugated (changed) and it begins with TO. For example: to have, to eat, to go, to live, to speak etc.
Examples of Negative Sentences with Have:
  • You don't have a clue.
  • John doesn't have many friends.
  • We don't have time for a rest.
  • It doesn't have four wheels.
  • They don't have the correct answers.
  • She doesn't have a nice dress.
Examples of Negative Sentences with Go:
  • You don't go to university.
  • John doesn't go to parties.
  • We don't go to work on the weekend.
  • It doesn't go fast.
  • They don't go to the beach.
  • She doesn't go to church.