Apostrophes to Mark Possession
Peter's and Mary's houses are in the the same village.

Apostrophes to Mark Possession

Apostrophes are used to show possession: it shows who owns what. This use of the apostrophe is not as straightforward as showing omission and can cause a lot of headaches.

If you don't get full marks when you first play this quiz - don't worry! Many people, even when they are older, struggle with apostrophes, especially when it comes to showing possession. But it really needn't be hard. As long as you know the rules (and the exceptions to the rules, as there always are in English), you will do well. Keep on playing the quiz until you know the correct answers - then you'll be more confident in your writing skills.

Do this 11-plus quiz and hopefully your headache will vanish!

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  1. Complete the sentence below with the correct possessive forms.
    The ... showers were not working.
    To form the plural possessive you add -s' to the end of the word, for example: professor - professors' (more than one professor). In the case of words like 'baby', the plural is 'babies': the possessive form of the plural would then be babies' NOT babys' - be on the look out for nouns ending in a 'consonant and -y' because the -y changes to -ies in the plural form. For example: fairy - fairies (plural) - fairies' (possessive)
  2. Complete the sentence below with the correct possessive forms.
    This is ... house.
    To form the singular possessive you add -'s to the end of the word, for example: teacher - teacher's (one teacher)
  3. Complete the sentence below with the correct possessive forms.
    ... house was built in the eighteenth century.
    If the object belongs to the same possessors, you need only put an -'s at the end of the last name
  4. Complete the sentence below with the correct possessive forms.
    The assistant asked the couple if they wanted the ... department or the ... department.
    The assistant would obviously use the plural possessive forms. Don't forget: irregular plurals add -'s to the end of the plural form
  5. Complete the sentence below with the correct possessive forms.
    The ... room is beautifully decorated.
    Irregular plurals add -'s to the end of the plural form, for example: man - men's; woman - women's
  6. Complete the sentence below with the correct possessive forms.
    Mr. ... house is very impressive.
    Names ending in -s add -'s to the end of the name; however, in the case of ancient names and names that end in a '-iz' sound, some people simply add an apostrophe: Achilles' heel; Mr. Bridges' house. If in doubt, add the -'s: it's probably the safest thing to do
  7. Complete the sentence below with the correct possessive forms.
    The ... toys were scattered on the floor.
    To form the plural possessive you add -s' to the end of the word, for example: dog- dogs' (more than one dog)
  8. Complete the sentence below with the correct possessive forms.
    His ... favourite hobby was photography.
    With singular and plural compound words, add the -'s to the last word to construct the possessive form. If the compound word needs to be in the plural, form the plural first and then add the -'s, for example: His two sisters-in-law's dogs are Labradors
  9. Complete the sentence below with the correct possessive forms.
    It is the ... right to have the vote.
    Here, 'people' is considered as a single group of individuals, so its possessive form adds -'s
  10. Complete the sentence below with the correct possessive forms.
    ... houses are in the the same village.
    For individual possession, you must add -'s to the end of each possessor: here, one house belongs to Peter and the other belongs to Mary

Author: Frank Evans

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