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Introduction to the possessive

Apostrophes can help show when something belongs to someone. Paige and David explain how! 

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Video transcript

- [Voiceover] Hello grammarians, hello Paige. - [Voiceover] Hi David. - [Voiceover] In the driver's seat. - [Voiceover] So, Paige, today, it is my understanding that we are gonna talk about the possessive. - [Voiceover] That's right. - [Voiceover] What even is the possessive in English? What does that mean when we say that? What does it mean to possess something? - [Voiceover] Right, so that means to own something or to have something. - [Voiceover] Okay, so this relates to the apostrophe, in that we use the apostrophe in many cases, we use the apostrophe s in many cases to show possession. Right, so if I were talking about, there are a couple of ways to show that something belongs to someone or something in English, like I could say, the carrot that belonged to that rabbit was delicious. - [Voiceover] Yeah, but that's pretty complicated, and can make sentences much longer than they need to be. - [Voiceover] So what's a simpler way of saying the carrot that belonged to the rabbit was delicious. - [Voiceover] You can say something like the rabbit's carrot was delicious. - [Voiceover] Oh, interesting, so you're actually containing, there's like a lot of information that's contained within the rabbit's, that little thing. 'Cause you're expressing the relationship between the rabbit and the carrot, just with that little apostrophe s, that contains so much information in it. - [Voiceover] Yeah, the whole idea of the rabbit owning the carrot comes from that apostrophe s. - [Voiceover] That's super cool. - [Voiceover] Yeah, it's a pretty big deal. - [Voiceover] So this doesn't just apply to common nouns, like rabbits, this can also apply to proper nouns, like people, or countries, or businesses, or whatever. - [Voiceover] Totally. - [Voiceover] Or movies. - [Voiceover] Yeah, anything, I think - [Voiceover] Okay, so to pull a completely random figure from American history, let's say Alexander Hamilton had a surfboard. - [Voiceover] Okay. - [Voiceover] So, we could say, using the apostrophe s construction, we could refer to Alexander Hamilton's surfboard, right? - [Voiceover] Right, the surfboard that belongs to Alexander Hamilton. - [Voiceover] Alright, so that seems pretty straightforward. If we wanna show possession, we just add an apostrophe s. Is that true in all cases though? - [Voiceover] Well, okay, not always. - [Voiceover] Okay, so there's a wrinkle. - [Voiceover] Of course, there's always a wrinkle. - [Voiceover] Introduce for us this wrinkle, Paige. - [Voiceover] So, there's an exception to this rule of using apostrophe s for possession when you're using a pronoun. - [Voiceover] Ah! - [Voiceover] Right. - [Voiceover] So, rabbit and Alexander Hamilton are both nouns, but there are pronouns like it, or he, or she, where you don't use an apostrophe to show possessive. - [Voiceover] So if I wanted to say, that surfboard is his, there's no apostrophe in there, right? - [Voiceover] Right. - [Voiceover] Or, we could just as easily say his surfboard, and I think that's the same as saying that surfboard is Alexander Hamilton's. And you can see that there's this real, it makes sense to want to put a possessive apostrophe s in there, right, but that's not what you do. - [Voiceover] Right. - [Voiceover] This is this one kind of obnoxious exception to the rule. So, for possessive pronouns, they don't, they just, they never take apostrophes. - [Voiceover] That's right. - [Voiceover] Okay, so the possessive in English usually formed with apostrophe s, The rabbit's carrot was delicious, Alexander Hamilton's surfboard, but when we're talking about possessive pronouns like his, or hers, or ours, or theirs, or my, or its, no apostrophes are needed. Possessive pronouns never take apostrophes. - [Voiceover] You got it. - [Voiceover] Sweet, thanks Paige. - [Voiceover] Thank you. - [Voiceover] You can learn anything, David out. - [Voiceover] Paige out.