Many teachers are tasked with the challenge of teaching the usage of English grammar possessives to students worldwide. The fundamental key to these lessons is in how the teacher illustrates the lesson. Possessives in English grammar are governed by a set a rules much like any other grammar lesson. Your students will be able to recognize possessives by the apostrophe that is used with singular possessive nouns and pronouns.
There are at least thirteen rules that govern the use of possessives within the English language. Many of the rules are listed below.
An apostrophe is almost always used with a singular noun in order to indicate possession of an item or items by an individual. For example, you would use an apostrophe to indicate ownership with the following:
In the event that the last name of an individual ends in the letter “s” you would still use the apostrophe “s” to indicate ownership. So, if the person’s last name is Watkins then you would add an apostrophe and the letter “s” to show ownership - Watkins's. Additionally you would use an apostrophe and letter “s” with states that end in letter “s” to indicate ownership as well - Kansas's.
In order to indicate plural possession, you will need to make a noun plural and use an apostrophe. So, if you are talking about two people then you would make the noun plural and then add the letter “s” on the end of it. If you are talking about two women, then you would show possession by simply adding an apostrophe and the letter “s” (women's); however, if you have a noun like the word “girls” then you would need to simply add an apostrophe at the end of the word “girls” - girls'. Do the same thing for names that end in the letter “s” like “Jones” (Jones') or “Hastings” (Hastings') as well.
Never use an apostrophe with plural possessive pronouns like his, hers, its, yours, or theirs. These pronouns already show possession so it is not necessary.
The above-mentioned rules are pretty straightforward when it comes to usage and application. The main thing to remember when dealing with possessives is that you will usually end up using an apostrophe and the letter “s” unless, of course, there is a plural possessive pronoun being used, then you would not use the apostrophe or the letter “s.”
Another thing to remember is how to indicate possession if the word happens to be a name that already ends in the letter ”s”, then you would need to either use an apostrophe only or an apostrophe and the letter “s” depending on what message your sentence is attempting to convey.
Possessives as a grammar lesson can be learned easily if taught right. The key to teaching a lesson on possessives is to clearly state the differences in usage. Additionally, a teacher should have an organized and well thought out lesson plan. Set up a few objectives and goals.
Additionally, it may prove increasingly helpful if you (that is if you are the teacher) have a fun activity that students can benefit from. The Socratic method may not be a good way to go about teaching possessives to students at any level.
Consider employing activities such as games or worksheets that students would enjoy. Use popular board games like Wheel of Fortune, Bingo and Jeopardy. Customize these board games to your innate lesson plan and you will find that your students will enjoy learning about possessives. Furthermore, you will see how your teaching style will be reflected in what your students retain.
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