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Possessive pronouns

Possessive pronouns describe what things belong to which people, like "her shoe" or "the book is mine." Possessive pronouns can be adjectives, like "his bicycle," or they can stand in for nouns, like "the seats are theirs." Neither of these forms should have apostrophes to show possession -- so it's ours (not our's) and yours (not your's). 

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  • hopper cool style avatar for user Jett Burns
    Why do none of the possessive pronouns use an apostrophe? '
    (2 votes)
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    • duskpin ultimate style avatar for user Cymelo
      The real question is not why are the possessive pronouns written without an apostrophe, but rather why the apostrophe is used with the other nouns.

      First, we have to understand what is the origin of the "possessive marker" (-'s), and what is the Etymology of the possessive nouns.
      The possessive marker comes from the Germanic genitive ending, and is retained in other Germanic languages, such has Dutch (e.g. Afrikaans = Africa's [language]), German, Danish etc. In these languages the "s" ending is written without an apostrophe (like in German, "Baum" => "Baums" = "tree" => "tree's"). This was also the case for English in older times:

      "And specially from every shires ende" = And specially from every shire's end
      (from the Prologue of the Canterbury Tales).

      Etymologically, the possessive pronouns are derived from the possessive adjectives with this final genitive ending (e.g. "hers" > "her +s"). They were first attested around 1300, when the orthographic convention was to write the ending without an apostrophe, and we write them so also nowadays.

      I don't know when people started to use the apostrophe, but i think that it happened due to a change in the use of this marker: it shifted from a genitival inflection to a clitic -
      In modern English you can say something like "Jack and Jill’s pails". In this sentence, the possessive marker refer to the whole phrasal noun "Jack and Jill" rather than only to "Jill". Maybe this transition is the reason of the orthographic convention.
      (37 votes)
  • blobby green style avatar for user Vinicius Barbosa
    In [] Is wrong say "that book is my"?
    (0 votes)
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  • aqualine ultimate style avatar for user keaga2
    I know he says that possessive pronouns don't have apostrophe but why does he put one in Girish when he uses it as a possessive pronoun
    (3 votes)
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    • starky tree style avatar for user ShiryaW
      He is using an apostrophe in "Girish's" because Girish's isn't a pronoun - it's a possessive /noun/. The possessive pronoun is "his". Remember, a pronoun is something that stands in for another word. "Girish" doesn't stand for anything else.
      (2 votes)
  • orange juice squid orange style avatar for user Karan Sharma
    At , Can the word "Him" will be also used as a noun?
    (2 votes)
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  • blobby green style avatar for user kunjrpatel341
    When a noun already ends in the letter "s", and you wish to indicate in writing that the noun belongs to the genitive (possessive) case, you do so by adding an apostrophe following the "s". Your example has chosen the wrong word. There is no plural to the word "that". So let's use another. Hornets. "The hornets' nest is dangerous." Does that help?
    (3 votes)
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  • hopper jumping style avatar for user Lucas De Oliveira
    Are there any modern language without pronouns?
    (3 votes)
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  • duskpin seedling style avatar for user EvelynS
    Why deos it mean a totally different thing with a Apostrophe?
    (2 votes)
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  • boggle blue style avatar for user AProLearner
    At what part of speech is book?
    (1 vote)
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  • starky seed style avatar for user vikram
    can we use "me" instead of my/mine and what is it a noun or adjective in
    "That bag belongs to me."
    (1 vote)
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  • male robot hal style avatar for user Roman St. Gerard
    At , David says its without an apostrophe but isn't there an its with an apostrophe? If so, do they both mean different things?
    (2 votes)
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Video transcript

- [Voiceover] All right grammarians, let's get down to it, and start talking about possessive pronouns. A possessive pronoun is a pronoun that we use to show possession of something which is just sort of a fancy way of saying "you have it." So possession equals having stuff. Now we can essentially divide possessive pronouns in half, because on this side of the divide, we have a list of pronouns that behave like adjectives, and on this side, we have a group of pronouns that behave like nouns. I'll list them and then we'll give some examples. So the possessive pronoun that behaves like an adjective for me is my. The possessive pronoun that behaves like a noun for me is mine. Our behaves like an adjective; ours behaves like a noun. Your behaves like an adjective; yours behaves like a noun. Her behaves like an adjective; hers behaves like a noun. His behaves like an adjective; his behaves like a noun. Its behaves like an adjective; its behaves like a noun. And their behaves like an adjective, and theirs behaves like a noun. Now I'd like to point out that nowhere in any of these words does there appear such a thing as an apostrophe. That little guy. I know this much is true: there are no apostrophes in possessive pronouns. So it's not ours, it's ours, like that. It's not yours with an apostrophe like that, it's yours with no apostrophe. Likewise it's not hers, his, it's is the big one. That means something entirely different. Or theirs. Across all varieties of English, the possessive pronouns don't have any apostrophes in them. So this is a very handsome looking chart if I do say so myself, but it doesn't really do the work of explaining what I mean by saying my behaves like an adjective, and mine behaves like a noun. So let me get some example sentences down and we'll see what I mean. So let's say that there was a book that I owned. How would I talk about it? Well I could do it two different ways using these possessive pronouns. I could say, "That is my book." And here my is working as an adjective that modifies and describes book. Or I could say, "That book is mine." And here we're using is to connect book to mine, and so in that case we're using mine as a noun. How do we know it's acting like a noun? Because we can use it independently of the word book. So if someone says to me, "David, where is your book?" I can say, "Mine is on the bedside table." Nowhere in this sentence does the word book appear, but we can use mine independently because we've established in a previous sentence that the thing we're talking about is this book. So let's talk about my coworker Girish. Nice fella. And let's say that Girish has a very nice hat. "We would say, "That is Girish's hat." This is what we'd call a possessive noun. But talking of Girish again, we could say, "That is his hat." Now we're using that possessive pronoun as an adjective to modify hat. Whose hat is it? It is his hat. If we wanted to use the personal pronoun that acted like a noun, we would say, "That hat is his." And we can also use his independently of the word hat by saying, "His is the hat with polka dots." So we've got two piles of possessive pronouns here. And one pile behaves like adjectives: my, our, your, her, his, its, their, and the other behaves like nouns: mine, ours, yours, hers, his, its, theirs. And remember, none of them contain an apostrophe. You can learn anything. David out.