Apostrophe S

1. The classic use of ‘s is known by all students and not only those who study advanced English grammar. It is used when something belongs to somebody. Please remeber that if the noun or name ends in s then we add an extra s.

That’s Dave’s car.

That’s James’s car… ya feel me? (but you could say ‘that’s James’ car.)

2. Don’t forget that with plural nouns we put the apostrophe afterwards. If, however, it is an iregular plural that doesn’t end in s we can add ‘s.

That’s my colleagues’ desk (a desk that’s used by 2 collagues.)

Don’t go in there because it’s the children’s room.

3. If we are talking about two people who own something and we mention both names, we put the apostroph s after the second name.

That’s Joe and Sandra’s baby.

4. If the possesion referred to is a house or place of business you can ommit the word that refers to it. For example, if you’re having lunch at Joe’s house then it’s not necessary to say ‘Joe’s house’. You say…

I’m having lunch at Joe’s.

Mum has a meeting at her lawyer’s.

5.  You can use ‘s with time expresions in advanced English grammar.

He was last year’s best player.

It’s an hour’s drive from here.


The use of  ‘of’ instead of apostrophe s

6.  If we are talking about possesion related to an object or some kind of abstract noun, we use ‘of’.

At the end of the day, he didn’t love her.

7. It is common to substitute ‘of’ for ‘s when the sentence is particulalrly long. However, be aware that although this appears in the grammar book there are much better ways of saying this (for example – today you’re gonna meet my sister’s cousin – the one I was telling you about the other day.)

Today you’re gonna meet the cousin of my sister that I was describing the other day.

8. For reasons that are lost in time, it’s very common in Cambridge advanced English with the words, friend, mate, colleague etc. to say ‘he’s a friend of Charlie’s.’

I don’t know him, I think he’s a friend of Joe’s.

Compound nouns

9. Like many other languages, compund nouns are very common in English. The first noun qualifies the second. The most obvious example is that I am an English teacher.  The first noun is almost always singular (unless it’s a word like ‘clothes’) but the second can be plural.

Put those papers on the book shelf.

Being a security guard is a very boring job sometimes.

This is my fishing rod.

10. Compound nouns are used for well known objects that are universal. However, if the object or noun is uncommon then we don’t use a compiund noun but an ‘of’.

This is my swimming pool, I hope you like it…

Watch out…there’s a pool of water that’s been created by the leak,

11. When we use a compond noun for a container, we are usually focusing on the container otself, whereas we use ‘of’ when focusing on what’s inside the container.

This is a beautiful wine bottle.

I wanna get drunk…let’s go buy a bottle of wine.

12. Note that in advanced English, compound words are usually two seperate words – beer garden, but they can also be one word – sunglasses, or hyphenated – letter-box.


EXERCISES about compound nouns



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