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Advanced (plural) possession

Paige and David talk about using apostrophes to show that something belongs to multiple people.

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Video transcript

- [Paige] Hello grammarians, hello David. - [David] Hello Paige. - [Paige] So today we're gonna talk about Plural Possession. Meaning when more than one person, or thing, or animal, owns something else. And this, like most other types of possession, tends to involve apostrophes. - [David] Makes sense, checks out. - [Paige] Yeah, cool. - [David] So it's just apostrophe, S, right? Like, I mean, why are we even making this video? - [Paige] Well, no. - [David] Oh. - [Paige] Apostrophe, S, is a rule that applies when the possessive noun is singular. So for example, the dog's bone. Right, that's one dog's bone. - [David] One singular dog possessing one bone. - [Paige] Exactly. - [David] What if I wanted to talk about like, five dogs' bones? Like they had a big old pile of bones? - [Paige] Right, so that is a case where we will not use apostrophe, S. - [David] What? - [Paige] I'm sorry to disappoint. - [David] I'm not disappointed, I'm just surprised. Not actually surprised, that's just a stage trick. - [Paige] So, if we're talking about five dogs, and their bones, we say five dogs, apostrophe, bones, and there's no S after the apostrophe. - [David] So it goes S, apostrophe? So we have the S for the plural, and then an apostrophe for possession, but not a second S for possession? - [Paige] Right, we don't want like, the dogs's bones. - [David] Okay. Okay, but the apostrophe at the end isn't about there being multiple bones, right? It's about there being multiple dogs? - [Paige] Yeah, so even if it's multiple dogs, and they're possessing a singular thing, - [David] So if five dogs all had the same favorite dog park. - [Paige] Right, because it's the best dog park in the world. - [David] Okay. - [Paige] So in that case you would say something like, the dogs' favorite park. Right, park is still singular, but dogs' is plural. So that's why it's just apostrophe, and no S afterwards. - [David] So this also only applies to plural nouns that end in S, right? So if I'm talking about one of our irregular plural nouns, like mice, or geese, or men, or women, I would still add apostrophe, S, right? Like, okay, so I'm imagining a department store, and there's a men's section, a women's section, and a mice's section. - [Paige] (laughs) Okay, that is an interesting department store. - [David] Well it doesn't take up that much floor space for the mouse section. So, I get that if there's more than one dog, it's D-O-G-S, apostrophe. If it's a plural irregular noun that doesn't end in S, then it's still just apostrophe, S, like regular possession. What about family names? - [Paige] Oh, okay, that's a good question. So, let's say there's a family with the last name, Harper. - [David] Okay. - [Paige] And I am going to visit the Harpers' house. - [David] Okay. - [Paige] Right, so that's the house that belongs to all of the Harpers, the Harper family. - [David] Okay, so that seems pretty straight forward, but what if we're talking about a name that ends in S? Like Burns? - [Paige] Okay, yeah. That can make things a little bit complicated. The way that names that end in S become plural is by adding ES to the end of them. So Burns becomes Burnses. - [David] And so Burnses, without the apostrophe, is how I would refer to that family unit in total also. Right, like it's Mr Burns and the Burnses? Or Dr Jones and the Joneses? - [Paige] Exactly. - [David] Okay. - [Paige] So then when you wanna make that possessive, as in, the Burnses' house, you make it plural by adding that ES, and then put the apostrophe after that. - [David] Cool, so plural things that end in S don't have a second S after the apostrophe? - [Paige] Yeah. - [David] But irregular plurals, like men, women, mice, do? - [Paige] Yeah. - [David] Thank you, Paige. - [Paige] You're welcome. You can learn anything. - [David] David out. - [Paige] Paige out.