Possessive nouns



Which one is correct, and why:

(a) Mary and John's car,


(b) Mary's and John's car?

[email protected]


If Mary and John own or use the car together, your example (a) is appropriate to use in a sentence like this:

Mary and John抯 new car was stolen from their driveway yesterday.

Conversely, if Mary has one car, and John another, you could use your example (b) in the sentence

Both Mary抯 and John抯 cars are in the shop.

Or, you could say more comfortably, referring to their two separate cars:

Mary抯 car and John抯 car are both in the shop.

In joint or group possession, add the possessive marker only to the last noun of the unit, as in the following example. The concept of 搖nit? is important here:

Hilary Rodham Clinton and Bill Clinton抯 daughter Chelsea graduated from Stanford University.

In individual possession, add 枓s to each noun:

Hilary Rodham Clinton抯 and Bill Clinton抯 different lives now keep them apart in different cities.

Return to the Key Word Index