Using an Apostrophe for Joint Possession

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Apostrophe for Joint Possession

Joint possession or ownership is shown by making the last word in the series possessive. Individual ownership is shown by making both (or all) parts possessive.

showing joint and individual ownership with apostrophes

Examples of Joint and Individual Ownership

Here are some examples of how possessive nouns are written to show joint and individual ownership:
  • Mary and Susan's apartment (joint ownership)
  • (Note that only the last part is possessive.)
  • Mary's and Susan's apartment (individual ownership)
  • (This is an example of individual ownership. Note that both parts are possessive.)
    (Without context, it will be assumed that Mary has one apartment and Susan has one apartment. Another construction is required if this is not the case. "Mary's apartment and Susan's apartment" is one option.)
  • Russia and Ukraine's problems (joint ownership)
  • (This is the construction when the problems are common to both.)
  • Russia's and Ukraine's problems (individual ownership)
  • (This is the construction for separate problems.)
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See Also

Take a test on using apostrophes Using apostrophes Apostrophes in expressions like two years' pay and a day's notice Mother's/Mothers' Day, Father's/Fathers' Day, Veteran's/Veterans' Day, Manager's/Managers' Meeting, Chief Executive's/Chief Executives' Meeting "Apostrophes for possession" game (Tetris-style game) "Apostrophes in time expressions" game (Tetris-style game)