A casual remark in the comments on Monday’s post on two commonly misused pronouns, ‘that’ and ‘which,’ brought up this subject–the proper use of possessives and genitives. On the surface, it seems simple, but it can be complicated, so we are going to revisit a post from 2016 on this subject.
Most people understand that apostrophes can denote possession (and I’m not talking demonic here), or they can indicate a contraction.
Things to remember:
- Who’s is the contraction of “who is” or, less commonly, “who has.”
- Whose is the possessive of “who” or, somewhat controversially, “which.”
- Their(s) is the possessive of “they.” (They’re proud to own it, it’s theirs, and it’s not there.)
- Its is the possessive of “it,” and “it’s” is a contraction of it is. Note that for both they and it, there is no apostrophe in the possessive form. We will get…
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