Grammar Tips: Possessive Plural Nouns
  • 3-minute read
  • 22nd September 2023

Grammar Tips: Possessive Plural Nouns

This post looks at possessive plural nouns.

Let’s do a quick recap on nouns and plural nouns before we dive into possessives.

A noun is the name of a person, place, thing, or idea.

A plural noun is simply how we show that we’re writing about more than one of a given noun.


“Possessive” is the grammatical term for when something belongs to someone or is closely associated with them.

Possessive Plural Nouns

This is where we combine all the terms we looked at above.

Plural nouns can have different endings, but the most common is the letter s, so we’ll look at those plurals first.

Plural Nouns Ending in s

These plural nouns become possessive when we add an apostrophe (’) after the letter s.

I will throw the dogs’ sticks across the grass, and the dogs will run after them.

The donkeys’ stables are near the farmyard.

My stories’ characters are all girls. I should add some boys.

Plural Nouns With Other Endings

This is a post about English grammar, so we just know there are going to be exceptions!

Plural Nouns Ending in n

Women, men, and children all end in n. They are the plural forms of woman, man, and child, respectively.

To make them possessive, we add an apostrophe followed by the letter s.

The women’s soccer team has won lots of games this season.

The men’s gardening group meets on Thursdays.

The children’s teacher loves helping them learn to read.

Plural Nouns for Which the Plural Form Is the Same as the Singular Form

Some nouns don’t change when we make them plural, for example, sheep and deer.

To make these nouns possessive, we add an apostrophe followed by the letter s.

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The sheep’s fleeces were very thick.

The deer’s antlers lock together as the animals fight.

Other Exceptions

Mice (the plural form of mouse) takes an apostrophe followed by the letter s.

The mice’s ears were soft and furry.

Feet and teeth (the plural forms of foot and tooth, respectively) could follow the same rule as the other plurals that don’t end in the letter s, but they would sound clumsy in a sentence. Instead, we tend to reorder sentences containing them to avoid needing to use the possessive plural form of the noun.

The feet’s soles all had sore patches.
There were sore patches on the soles of all the feet.
The teeth’s edges were very sharp.
The edges of the teeth were very sharp.

Possessive Plural Proper Nouns (Names)

We have a helpful post all about this specialized area.


Possessive plural nouns can best be dealt with by following these steps:

1. Check that you’ve used the correct plural ending (s, es, ies, or one of the exceptions)

2. Think about where to put the apostrophe to show possession.

3. If the plural noun ends in s, add an apostrophe after the s.

4. If the plural noun is one of the exceptions, add an apostrophe followed by the letter s.

5. If the sentence sounds clumsy using a possessive plural noun, reorder the words so you don’t have to use one.


If I’m not sure how to use an apostrophe with other nouns, where can I find help?

We have a handy post all about apostrophes!

How can I be sure I’ve written plural possessive nouns correctly?

Our experts would be happy to check your writing for you. Just get in touch!

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