Chapter 1 Part 2 – Whose is this?
These nouns are regular. Regular nouns end in s.
In some cases, the pronunciation is different and you get an extra syllable. For example, change, changes, sentence, sentences.
Irregular nouns do not end in s in the plural form.
Some irregular nouns are:
To describe one of something we often say a, e.g. there is a cat in the garden. When the noun starts with a vowel (a, e, i, o, u) we add n to the article, i.e. an elephant.
a book _____?____ umbrella _____?____ piano
an elephant _____?____ pencil _____?____ watch
Example Conversation – What’s in your bag?
David: Your bag looks heavy, Susan. What’s in it?
Susan: My bag is absolutely full. I’ve got my purse in here, a notebook, an apple, an iphone, a makeup bag, and a passport.
David: Is it your passport?
Susan: Of course it is! What’s in your rucksack?
David: An umbrella.
The possessive (‘s) is used to indicate something belongs to someone, or the relationship between people. Example:
Where is Claudio’s book? He can’t find it.
Here the ’s means that the book is the book of Claudio. In some languages the book of Claudio is correct, but in English we remove of and use ‘s instead. This is the same for relationships between people, whether that is family, school, or work. Example:
This is Viviana. She is Claudio’s sister (i.e. the sister of Claudio).
Don’t confuse the possessive ‘s with the contraction of the verb to be, third person singular, i.e. it’s hot today – this is an abbreviation of: it is hot today (verb to be).
How to spot the difference?
Though it can be confusing, there is a simple way to tell if ‘s is the verb to be or the possessive s.
Verb to be: It’s cold; she’s here; it’s six o’clock; he’s David…
These examples refer to an adjective (cold), an adverb (here), a time, a name, etc. The possessive s, however, will refer to a noun – either a person or a thing, and there will be two nouns together – i.e. Claudio’s sister – Claudio = proper noun (name), sister = common noun (something general).
To test this idea, re-write the phrase using the verb to be, e.g. Claudio’s sister – Claudio is sister. In this case, Claudio is sister doesn’t make sense, so the ‘s must be a possessive.
This is Claudio’s sister. (Note – sister can be singular or plural; the issue here is that there is one Claudio.
My parents’ house has four bedrooms. (Note – the plural here is parents; they may only have one house, but there are two parents, so we put the apostrophe after the s: parents’).
One person (singular)
This is Katie __?__ restaurant. It’s called Katie __?__ .
Two or more people (plural)
The customer __?__ favourite dish is the aubergine lasagne. The customer __?__ second favourite is the chocolate cake from Naples.
Rewrite these sentences:
(Rachel) Peter is her friend – Peter is Rachel’s friend. _________________________ .
(your parents) Where is their house? _________________________ .
(Karen) Her cell phone is on the table. _________________________ .
(The children) Their dinner isn’t ready. _________________________ .
(Susanna) Her hair is black. _________________________ .
We generally use possessive s for people plus people (Sarah‘s mother), or people plus things (David’s computer). We don’t generally use it for things plus things (the table’s edge – instead, we use of = the edge of the table).
However, some things like a city can take the ‘s – e.g., London’s most famous restaurant.
For titles we also tend to use of, too, e.g. The King of England, The Prime Minister of Britain (not Britain’s Prime Minister).
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