Possessive Noun Practice Activities + Printable Worksheet

Teachers are often looking for possessive noun practice for middle school students and elementary students. It can be tricky because possessive nouns are often confused with plurals. Apostrophes make that critical difference. Read on for information about what possessive nouns are, links to more possessive noun practice and a few exercises students can practice on their own.

students at desk classroom students at desk classroom
Advertisement

Plural vs. Possessive Nouns

Your class may already know that a possessive noun shows possession of an object. But can they tell the difference between possessive and plural nouns? And what about plural possessive nouns? Try out these grammar exercises for some classroom possessive noun practice.

Plural vs. Possessive Nouns Practice Questions

A. Determine whether the underlined nouns are singular possessive, plural possessive or just plural.

  1. the cat's pajamas
  2. our two families
  3. my sisters' husbands
  4. the house's stairs
  5. your math teachers

B. Read the following sentences. Which nouns are correct, and which ones need to be edited?

  1. What do snake's like to eat?
  2. I picked up a cake from Nelson's bakery.
  3. My dog's paw is sore after the long walk today.
  4. The Johnson's wish you a happy holiday season.
  5. Socrate's students thought he was a brilliant teacher.

Plural vs. Possessive Nouns Printable Worksheet

If you'd like to challenge yourself or your students with more possessive noun practice, download and print the following PDF. It's great for first-time grammar learners or those in need of a little review.

plural vs. possessive nouns printable worksheet

View & Download PDF

Advertisement

Plural vs. Possessive Nouns Answer Key

How did you do on the practice questions? Check out your answers here.

A. Determine whether the underlined nouns are singular possessive, plural possessive or just plural.

  1. the cat's pajamas (singular possessive)
  2. our two families (plural)
  3. my sisters' husbands (plural possessive)
  4. the house's stairs (singular possessive)
  5. your math teachers (plural)

B. Read the following sentences. Which nouns are correct, and which ones need to be edited?

  1. What do snakes like to eat? (plural; no apostrophe)
  2. I picked up a cake from Nelson's bakery. (correct)
  3. My dog's paw is sore after the long walk today. (correct)
  4. The Johnsons wish you a happy holiday season. (plural; no apostrophe)
  5. Socrates' students thought he was a brilliant teacher. (singular; apostrophe after the "s")

More Possessive Noun Practice Exercises

The best possessive noun practice for students is to have them complete possessive noun activities, either individually or as part of a group. Take a look at these ideas for individual, small-group and whole-class possessive noun exercises.

Individual Assignments

When giving individual assignments, it's a good idea to keep specific results private. Quizzes and written activities are ideal.

  • When you're just introducing the concept of possessive nouns, start with a written quiz on parts of speech. Have them label all the words in a given sentence with the appropriate part. When everyone's done, write "Jason's" (or the possessive noun of your choice) on the board. They've all seen that kind of word. But what part of speech is it? Let students answer, then explain its complex nature.
  • When all of your students seem to have a good handle on the plural/possessive distinction, it's time to get tricky. Assign a quiz where all punctuation has been removed from a few simple sentences. Then, ask your students to add in the correct punctuation. Salt liberally with plurals and possessives.
Advertisement

Small-Group Activities

Breaking into groups, especially in small classes where students know each other well, can take some of the pressure off exploring a new idea.

  • Hand out newspaper or magazine articles. Break into groups. Then, have them circle plurals and underline possessive nouns.
  • Split the class in half. One group is Team Plural, and the other group is Team Possessive. Start with a simple sentence containing one or the other, and let the relevant team yell it out. Give points for correct responses and deduct points for incorrect answers. The first team to reach 10 points wins.

Whole-Class Activities

Whole class activities involve all the students and, properly handled, avoid singling anyone out for possible embarrassment. That makes them a great match for tricky propositions like the distinction between plural and possessive.

  • Do a group activity. Write a sentence on the board (or otherwise show it to the whole class) and take a vote — plural or possessive? If the majority gets it right, write another, more challenging sentence. Keep going until you hit your class's limit. You can also introduce plural possessive nouns.
  • Ask students to volunteer for an activity. When one steps up, flip a coin in secret. Depending on the result, have them write either a sentence with a possessive or one with a plural. Ask for raised hands from the class, and choose a student to state whether the sentence has a plural or a possessive noun. If they get it right, they get to write the next sentence.
Advertisement

Possessive, Plural and You

As with all things, the first step to teaching a subject is to understand it. Once you've finished these refresher activities on possessives and plurals, your students should understand this concept a little better. For more grammar practice, try out a possessive noun quiz and some possessive noun worksheets to test students' knowledge.