Unit 8.1

Apostrophe in Saxon Genitive

Introduction

The apostrophe is a punctuation and diacritical mark used in the Saxon Genitive form to express possession.

Form

The Saxon Genitive is formed in different ways, depending on the word that indicates the possession.

  • if it is a proper name ending in s: we can use either ‘ or ‘s. But nowadays is more common to see only the apostrophe itself.
  • if the word is a regular noun in plural: we add just the apostrophe.
  • if the word is an irregular noun in plural, those that do not make the plural adding a final s:  we add ‘s, because they are specific words.
  • if it is a compound noun, those that have more than one word (separated by a hyphen or not): we add ‘s to the last word of the combination.

Example

  • name ending in -s
    • He is Mr Jones employee.
    • He is Angelina Jones‘s husband.
    • Jennifer is Chris girlfriend.
  • regular plural nouns
    • This is the boys room.
    • The girls school is excellent.
    • The dogs toys are all over the living room.
  • irregular plural nouns
    • Is this the men‘s bathroom?
    • The women‘s departament is upstairs.
    • The children‘s room is messy.
  • compound nouns
    • My mother in law‘s party was very boring.
    • Her father in law‘s garden is beautiful.
    • His brother in law‘s children are active and optimistic.

Use

The saxon genitive is a grammatical element used to represent that a person or a group possess something. It is indicated by the apostrophe followed by the letter s (‘s) after the name of the person.

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