Exercise 2: Apostrophe Used For Possession

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| By Eleanor Dickey
Eleanor Dickey, History & Literature
Eleanor is a distinguished Professor of Classics at the University of Reading in the UK, specializing in the study of classical literature, history, and culture.
Quizzes Created: 9 | Total Attempts: 1,926
Questions: 39 | Attempts: 406

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Exercise Quizzes & Trivia

Choose the correct word to fill in the blank. Some sentences are ambiguous if taken in isolation, but they all have only one right answer in context: keep in mind that the sentences link together to form a story.


Questions and Answers
  • 1. 

    ___ dogs are named Kipper and Chipper. 

    • A.

      Martin's

    • B.

      Martins'

    • C.

      Martins

    Correct Answer
    A. Martin's
    Explanation
    Possessive: Martin's dogs = the dogs of Martin, the dogs belonging to Martin.

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  • 2. 

    They are both Retriever ___.

    • A.

      Crosses'

    • B.

      Crosses

    • C.

      Cross's

    Correct Answer
    B. Crosses
    Explanation
    No possession is involved.

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  • 3. 

    ___ coat is dark brown, and ___ is lighter. 

    • A.

      Kippers', Chipper's

    • B.

      Kippers, Chippers

    • C.

      Kippers', Chippers'

    • D.

      Kipper's, Chippers'

    • E.

      Kipper's, Chipper's

    • F.

      Kipper's, Chippers

    • G.

      Kippers', Chippers

    Correct Answer
    E. Kipper's, Chipper's
    Explanation
    Possession: the coats belong to the dogs. Each dog is singular.

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  • 4. 

    The ___ are constantly wagging enthusiastically, except when they are asleep.

    • A.

      Dog’s tail’s

    • B.

      Dogs tail’s

    • C.

      Dog’s tails

    • D.

      Dogs tails

    • E.

      Dogs’ tails

    Correct Answer
    E. Dogs’ tails
    Explanation
    Possession: the tails of the dogs, so it is the dogs that possess the tails and therefore have the apostrophe. The apostrophe is after the -s because the dogs are already plural.

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  • 5. 

    Both dogs like to jump up and lick ___.

    • A.

      Visitor's faces

    • B.

      Visitors' faces

    • C.

      Visitor's face's

    • D.

      Visitors' face's

    • E.

      Visitor's faces'

    • F.

      Visitors' faces'

    Correct Answer
    B. Visitors' faces
    Explanation
    Possession: the faces of the visitors. The visitors must be plural, as a single visitor could not have more than one face, so the apostrophe goes after the -s.

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  • 6. 

    ___ rarely enjoy this.

    • A.

      Visitor's

    • B.

      Visitors'

    • C.

      Visitors

    Correct Answer
    C. Visitors
    Explanation
    No possession is involved.

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  • 7. 

    The ___ mean very well, but they have bad breath.

    • A.

      Dog's

    • B.

      Dogs'

    • C.

      Dogs

    Correct Answer
    C. Dogs
    Explanation
    No possession is involved.

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  • 8. 

    The vet keeps telling Martin to brush his ___ teeth, but Martin never does it. 

    • A.

      Dog's

    • B.

      Dogs'

    • C.

      Dogs

    Correct Answer
    B. Dogs'
    Explanation
    Possessive and plural.

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  • 9. 

    A ___ teeth are usually hard to brush, because ___ do not enjoy the process.

    • A.

      Dog's, dog's

    • B.

      Dog's, dogs'

    • C.

      Dog's, dogs

    • D.

      Dogs', dog's

    • E.

      Dogs', dogs'

    • F.

      Dogs', dogs

    • G.

      Dogs, dog's

    Correct Answer
    C. Dog's, dogs
    Explanation
    The first "dogs" is possessive, because the teeth belong to a dog, and singular, because "a" can only go with a singular word ("a dog", but never "a dogs"); the second is not possessive.

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  • 10. 

    And these ___ teeth are particularly hard to brush, because both ___ are incapable of standing still. 

    • A.

      Dog's, dog's

    • B.

      Dog's, dogs'

    • C.

      Dog's, dogs

    • D.

      Dogs', dog's

    • E.

      Dogs', dogs'

    • F.

      Dogs', dogs

    • G.

      Dogs, dog's

    Correct Answer
    F. Dogs', dogs
    Explanation
    The first "dogs" is possessive, as they have the teeth, and plural, as there are two dogs; the second is not possessive.

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  • 11. 

    ___ favourite activity is chasing ___. 

    • A.

      Kipper's, cat's

    • B.

      Kipper's, cats'

    • C.

      Kipper's, cats

    • D.

      Kippers', cat's

    • E.

      Kippers', cats'

    • F.

      Kippers', cats

    • G.

      Kippers, cat's

    Correct Answer
    C. Kipper's, cats
    Explanation
    The activity is the favourite OF Kipper; no possession is involved for the cats.

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  • 12. 

    He would not actually hurt a cat if he caught one, but the ___ do not know that. 

    • A.

      Cat's

    • B.

      Cats'

    • C.

      Cats

    Correct Answer
    C. Cats
    Explanation
    No possession is involved.

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  • 13. 

    Neither does Kipper, since he never catches the ___.

    • A.

      Cat's

    • B.

      Cats'

    • C.

      Cats

    Correct Answer
    C. Cats
    Explanation
    No possession is involved.

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  • 14. 

    ___ have no dogs; instead they have children.

    • A.

      Martin's neighbour's

    • B.

      Martin's neighbours'

    • C.

      Martin's neighbours

    • D.

      Martins' neighbour's

    • E.

      Martins' neighbours'

    • F.

      Martins' neighbours

    Correct Answer
    C. Martin's neighbours
    Explanation
    Possession: the neighbours of Martin. Martin is by definition singular.

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  • 15. 

    Recently the ___ children acquired two large ___ named Zeus and Hera.

    • A.

      Neighbour's, cat's

    • B.

      Neighbour's, cats'

    • C.

      Neighbour's, cats

    • D.

      Neighbours', cat's

    • E.

      Neighbours', cats'

    • F.

      Neighbours', cats

    Correct Answer
    F. Neighbours', cats
    Explanation
    Possession: the children of the neighbours. If you take this sentence in isolation, the possessor of the children could be either one neighbour ("neigbour's children") or two ("neighbours' children"), but we know from the previous sentence that the neighbours are plural.

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  • 16. 

    The ___ mother wanted to keep the cats indoors, but the ___ wanted to go out.

    • A.

      Children's, cat's

    • B.

      Children's, cats'

    • C.

      Children's, cats

    • D.

      Childrens', cat's

    • E.

      Childrens', cats'

    • F.

      Childrens', cats

    Correct Answer
    C. Children's, cats
    Explanation
    Possession: the mother of the children. Although "children" is a plural, it does not end in -s, and therefore the -s is added with the apostrophe. There is never any circumstance in which one could say "childrens" or "childrens'": it is always "children's". There is no possession involved with "cats", and therefore no apostrophe.

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  • 17. 

    A ___ can be very difficult to live with. 

    • A.

      Cat's howl's

    • B.

      Cat's howls'

    • C.

      Cat's howls

    • D.

      Cats' howl's

    • E.

      Cats' howls'

    • F.

      Cats' howls

    • G.

      Cats howl's

    Correct Answer
    C. Cat's howls
    Explanation
    Possession: the howls of a cat. "Cat" must be singular because of "a".

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  • 18. 

    Two ___ are even worse.

    • A.

      Cat's howl's

    • B.

      Cat's howls'

    • C.

      Cat's howls

    • D.

      Cats' howl's

    • E.

      Cats' howls'

    • F.

      Cats' howls

    • G.

      Cats howl's

    Correct Answer
    F. Cats' howls
    Explanation
    Possession: the howls of the cats. "Cats" must be plural because of "two": you can say "two cats", but never "two cat".

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  • 19. 

    ___ howl was very penetrating, and ___ was simply deafening. 

    • A.

      Zeu's, Hera's

    • B.

      Zeu's, Heras'

    • C.

      Zeu's, Heras

    • D.

      Zeus', Hera's

    • E.

      Zeus', Heras'

    • F.

      Zeus', Heras

    • G.

      Zeus, Hera's

    Correct Answer
    D. Zeus', Hera's
    Explanation
    Possession for both words: the howl of Zeus and the howl of Hera. Each cat is singular, but Zeus ends in -s already, so you can make the possessive just by adding an apostrophe. You could also have said "Zeus's". You NEVER insert an apostrophe into a word that already has an -s as part of it, so you would NEVER want to say "Zeu's".

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  • 20. 

    These ___ are Siamese, you see. 

    • A.

      Cat's

    • B.

      Cats'

    • C.

      Cats

    Correct Answer
    C. Cats
    Explanation
    No possession is involved.

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  • 21. 

    So very soon the ___ father let the ___ out.

    • A.

      Children's, cat's

    • B.

      Children's, cats'

    • C.

      Children's, cats

    • D.

      Childrens', cat's

    • E.

      Childrens', cats'

    • F.

      Childrens', cats

    • G.

      Childrens, cat's

    Correct Answer
    C. Children's, cats
    Explanation
    Possession: the father of the children (who do not end in -s even in the plural and therefore have the apostrophe before the -s). Possession is not involved for "cats".

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  • 22. 

    Zeus ran out into the garden and climbed over the fence into ___ garden. 

    • A.

      Martin's

    • B.

      Martins'

    • C.

      Martins

    Correct Answer
    A. Martin's
    Explanation
    Possession: the garden of Martin.

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  • 23. 

    ___ keen nose quickly detected ___ scent, and he leaped up enthusiastically to chase him.

    • A.

      Kipper's, Zeus's

    • B.

      Kipper's, Zeuss'

    • C.

      Kipper's, Zeus

    • D.

      Kippers', Zeus'

    • E.

      Kippers', Zeus

    • F.

      Kippers, Zeus

    Correct Answer
    A. Kipper's, Zeus's
    Explanation
    Possession for both words: the nose of Kipper and the scent of Zeus. Both are singular, but Zeus ends in -s already, so his possessive could be either "Zeus'" or "Zeus's".

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  • 24. 

    But Zeus did not run; instead he arched his back, fizzed out his fur, and extended his ___. 

    • A.

      Claw's

    • B.

      Claws'

    • C.

      Claws

    Correct Answer
    C. Claws
    Explanation
    No possession is involved.

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  • 25. 

    Most ___ claws are fairly formidable, and ___ are particularly impressive. 

    • A.

      Cat's, Zeus'

    • B.

      Cat's, Zeus

    • C.

      Cats', Zeus's

    • D.

      Cats', Zeus

    • E.

      Cats, Zeus'

    • F.

      Cats, Zeus

    Correct Answer
    C. Cats', Zeus's
    Explanation
    Possession: the claws of most cats and the claws of Zeus. The "most cats" is plural; Zeus is singular but ends in -s, so it can have a possessive either "Zeus'" or "Zeus's".

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  • 26. 

    ___ confusion was evident: he did not know what to do. 

    • A.

      Kipper's

    • B.

      Kippers'

    • C.

      Kippers

    Correct Answer
    A. Kipper's
    Explanation
    Possession: the confusion of Kipper.

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  • 27. 

    He stopped running and started barking, so that ___ other dog came out of the house and barked too. 

    • A.

      Martin's

    • B.

      Martins'

    • C.

      Martins

    Correct Answer
    A. Martin's
    Explanation
    Possession: the dog of Martin.

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  • 28. 

    The ___ barking was deafening.

    • A.

      Dog's

    • B.

      Dogs'

    • C.

      Dogs

    Correct Answer
    B. Dogs'
    Explanation
    In isolation either "dog's" or "dogs'" could be right, as there could be either one or two dogs barking, but in context we know that there are two dogs barking.

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  • 29. 

    Martin and his neighbours came out, as did the ___ children. 

    • A.

      Neighbour's

    • B.

      Neighbours'

    • C.

      Neighbours

    Correct Answer
    B. Neighbours'
    Explanation
    In isolation either "neighbour's" or "neighbours'" could be right, as the children could have one parent or two, but in context it has to be plural.

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  • 30. 

    The ___ went up to Zeus and stopped barking. 

    • A.

      Dog's

    • B.

      Dogs'

    • C.

      Dogs

    Correct Answer
    C. Dogs
    Explanation
    No possession is involved.

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  • 31. 

    ___ tail started to wag. 

    • A.

      Chipper's

    • B.

      Chippers'

    • C.

      Chippers

    Correct Answer
    A. Chipper's
    Explanation
    Possession: the tail of Chipper.

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  • 32. 

    ___ nose stretched out to sniff Zeus. 

    • A.

      Kipper's

    • B.

      Kippers'

    • C.

      Kippers

    Correct Answer
    A. Kipper's
    Explanation
    Possession: the nose of Chipper.

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  • 33. 

    The ___ thought they had better make friends, but Zeus was not so sure.

    • A.

      Dog's

    • B.

      Dogs'

    • C.

      Dogs

    Correct Answer
    C. Dogs
    Explanation
    No possession is involved.

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  • 34. 

    The ___ back stayed arched, and he hissed at the dogs. 

    • A.

      Cat's

    • B.

      Cats'

    • C.

      Cats

    Correct Answer
    A. Cat's
    Explanation
    Possession: the back of the cat. There is only one cat involved at this point: Hera has not gone over the fence.

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  • 35. 

    ___ hiss was almost as intimidating as his claws.

    • A.

      Zeu's

    • B.

      Zeus's

    • C.

      Zeus

    Correct Answer
    B. Zeus's
    Explanation
    Possession: the hiss of Zeus. Another correct answer would have been "Zeus'".

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  • 36. 

    The ___ wagged harder, and they whined. 

    • A.

      Dog's tail's

    • B.

      Dog's tails'

    • C.

      Dog's tails

    • D.

      Dogs' tail's

    • E.

      Dogs' tails'

    • F.

      Dogs' tails

    • G.

      Dogs tail's

    Correct Answer
    F. Dogs' tails
    Explanation
    Possession: the tails of the dogs. There are two dogs, so the apostrophe is added after the -s.

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  • 37. 

    ___ back started to come down, and so did his fur. 

    • A.

      Zeus'

    • B.

      Zeus

    • C.

      Zeu's

    Correct Answer
    A. Zeus'
    Explanation
    Another correct answer would have been "Zeus's".

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  • 38. 

    ___ thought perhaps he should make friends after all.

    • A.

      Zeus's

    • B.

      Zeus'

    • C.

      Zeu's

    • D.

      Zeus

    Correct Answer
    D. Zeus
    Explanation
    No possession is involved.

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  • 39. 

    The ___ noses touched the ___ nose, and peace was established.

    • A.

      Dog's, cat's

    • B.

      Dog's, cats'

    • C.

      Dog's, cats

    • D.

      Dogs', cat's

    • E.

      Dogs', cats'

    • F.

      Dogs', cats

    • G.

      Dogs, cat's

    Correct Answer
    D. Dogs', cat's
    Explanation
    Possession for both words: the noses of the dogs and the nose of the cat. The dogs are plural; the cat is singular.

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Our quizzes are rigorously reviewed, monitored and continuously updated by our expert board to maintain accuracy, relevance, and timeliness.

  • Current Version
  • Mar 19, 2023
    Quiz Edited by
    ProProfs Editorial Team
  • Oct 20, 2016
    Quiz Created by
    Eleanor Dickey
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