- (after voiceless consonants except /s/, /ʃ/, /t͡ʃ/) enPR: s, IPA(key): /s/
- (after a sibilant or affricate)
- (elsewhere) enPR: z, IPA(key): /z/
- Homophone: -s
From Middle English -s, -es, from Old English -es (“-'s”, masculine and neuter genitive singular ending), from Proto-Germanic *-as, *-is (masculine and neuter genitive singular ending). Cognate with Dutch -s, -es (“-'s”), German -s, -es (“-'s”), Danish -s, -es (“-'s”), Swedish -s (“-'s”), Norwegian -s (“-'s”), Icelandic -s (“-'s”).
- Possessive marker, indicating that an object belongs to the noun or noun phrase bearing the marker.
- Jane's house is bigger than Sarah's.
- The cat bit the dog’s tail. (the dog + ’s)
- The cat bit the dog with the shaggy fur’s tail. (the dog with the shaggy fur + ’s)
- women’s contributions to science
- 2012 April 15, Phil McNulty, “Tottenham 1-5 Chelsea”, in BBC:
- Before kick-off, a section of Chelsea’s support sadly let themselves and their club down by noisily interrupting the silence held in memory of the Hillsborough disaster and for Livorno midfielder Piermario Morosini, who collapsed and died after suffering a heart attack during a Serie B game on Saturday.
- In the absence of a specified object, used to indicate “the house/place/establishment of”.
- Indicates a purpose or a user.
- You need a driver’s licence.
- These are popular boy’s T-shirts.
- Alex can be a girl’s name.
- That's a girl’s toy. (A toy intended for use by girls.) — Homographic to: That's a girl’s toy. (The toy of a specific girl.)
- Used to indicate a quantity of something, especially of time.
- I took three weeks' holiday.
- The rocks lay at about a mile's distance from the shore.
- Used to indicate various other kinds of relationship, such as source or origin, object of an action, subject depicted, etc.
- the doctor's help (help provided by the doctor)
- the King's capture (event of the King being captured)
- my father's portrait (portrait depicting my father)
- (see usage notes) Attached to a noun or noun phrase linked to a genitive of, forming a double genitive.
- c. 1606–1607, William Shakespeare, “The Tragedie of Anthonie and Cleopatra”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies […] (First Folio), London: […] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, [Act I, scene i], line Nay, but this dotage of our general’s
O'erflows the measure:
- Irregular plurals with endings other than ‘s’ (e.g. children) always take ’s: the children’s voices.
- Words ending in s are made possessive in various ways. Consider:
- With regular plurals, the apostrophe is placed at the end, i.e. -s' is used (the dogs’ tails, whereas for singular ‘dog’, the dog’s tail).
- The possessives of names which end in s may be formed using either this suffix (-'s) or bare -' (which see for more). Hence: St. James’s or St. James’, Chris's or Chris', Jesus's or Jesus'. The American Heritage Dictionary (under the entry "possessive") prescribes restricting this to words or names of at least two syllables, such as witness'; in practice, it can also be found on one-syllable names. The two suffixes may or may not be distinguished in pronunciation; for example, the BBC prescribes the following distinction: Dickens’ novel /dɪkɪnz nɒvəl/ (identically to (a) Dickens novel), Dickens’s novel /dɪkɪnzɪz nɒvəl/. Some speakers, however, may pronounce both as /ɪz/, i.e. both Dickens’ and Dickens’s as /ˈdɪkɪnzɪz/.
- To remedy ambiguity or awkwardness in either speech or print, possessives can generally be recast using of: the tails of the dogs, the paths of St. James.
- When referring to possessions of multiple people who don't share the same name, the standard, formal way to form the possessive is Jack’s and Jill’s pails. However, it is common to treat the pair of names as a noun phrase and to form the possessive of this instead, using only one ’s: Jack and Jill’s pails.
- The use of ’s to make nouns or noun phrases genitive that are seemingly already marked thus by of is widespread in English. It is nearly exclusively used with animate nouns. It may seem redundant, but it can clarify meaning. For example, “painting of the woman” can mean “painting that belongs to the woman” or “painting that depicts the woman”, but “painting of the woman’s” must mean “painting that belongs to the woman”. Though widespread, some speakers find it awkward and suggest it be avoided by rewriting sentences that would require it.
- Nouns that look and sound identical in the singular and plural still do when this suffix is attached, so “one moose” becomes “one moose’s” and “two moose” becomes “two moose’s”.
Equivalent to -s, with addition of apostrophe.
- (sometimes proscribed) Used to form the plurals of numerals, letters, some abbreviations and some nouns, usually because the omission of an apostrophe would make the meaning unclear or ambiguous.
- There are four 3’s in my phone number.
- “Banana” has three a’s and one b. (apostrophe "s" used so that the plural of “a” is not confused with the word “as”)
- You can buy CD’s in that shop.
- These are the do’s and don’ts. (apostrophe "s" used as “dos” may be misread)
- 10’s; 100’s; A+’s; A.U.’s; don’t’s; s’s
- (obsolete) Used to form plurals of foreign words, to clarify pronunciation, such as “banana’s” or “pasta’s”.
- (proscribed) Used to form the plural of nouns that correctly take just an "s" in the plural. See greengrocer’s apostrophe.
- Apple’s 50p a pound
The use of ’s to form plurals of initialisms or numerals is not currently recommended by most authorities, except when the meaning would otherwise be unclear. The use in foreign words was common before the 19th century, but is no longer accepted. The use of the apostrophe in any other plural (as in “apple’s”) — the so-called “greengrocer’s apostrophe” — is proscribed.
- Contraction of .
- Julle's almal die selfde. ― You're all the same.
- Hier's wat ek jou kan vertel. ― Here's what I can tell you.
- Used to form the plural form of nouns ending in a vowel, except schwa.
- foto → foto’s (instead of fotoos)
- taxi → taxi’s (instead of taxies)
- Used to form the genitive form of proper nouns which end in certain vowels; the apostrophe actually stands for an elided vowel.
- Anna → Anna’s (instead of Annaas)
- (archaic) Used to form the genitive of proper names
- Used to form the genitive of proper names under certain circumstances.
- The use of -'s instead of -s is allowed, according to the German spelling reform of 1996, only when bare -s would be ambiguous (as in the example above). In informal writing it is sometimes used even when there is no ambiguity (e.g. Peter's), but this is proscribed.
- contracted form of
- -s (sometimes)
- contracted form of
- (with other pronouns) mir's, ich's, ... = mir es, ich es, ...
- (with verbs) geht's, nimm's, ... = geht es, nimm es, ...
- (with particles) wenn's, ob's, ... = wenn es, ob es, ...