Knowing the difference between plural forms and possessive forms is a stepping stone for many people learning English. When you come across a word like business, you might think that “business’s,” “business’,” or “businesses” are all the same thing. However, there’s a difference between each one, and we’ll show you what that is.
Is It Business’s, Business’ Or Businesses?
Business’s should be used when you’re using “business” in the possessive form. This means that the “business” owns the noun or object that comes directly after it in the sentence. Business’ is the possessive form of “business” without the “-‘s” at the end, making it incorrect. You always add the “-‘s” at the end when using the possessive form. Businesses should be used when talking about the plural of business.
5 Examples Of How To Use “Business’s”
So, let’s start by looking at some examples of what we mean. We’ll start with the possessive form of “business.” We use “business’s” in the singular sense and will only be referring to one business owning something in the sentence. If you’re looking to use the plural possessive form, you’d need to add the plural form and then the apostrophe (which we’ll cover more later). Let’s look through these examples.
- The business’s employees are all late.
- I’m afraid I have to disagree with the business’s practice.
- We believe in the business’s method.
- This business’s plan doesn’t make any sense.
- Where are your business’s resources?
In each of these examples, a noun comes after the word “business’s” which indicates ownership. This helps us to understand how the possessive form of business works. We use the possessive form by adding an “-‘s” to the end of a word, even when that word ends with an “s” already. It’s good to get used to these rules quickly, so you don’t make mistakes later.
5 Examples Of How To Use “Business'”
We’ve already touched on “business'” as a word, and it isn’t grammatically correct to use it in this way. When you write “business” in the possessive form, you need to include “-‘s” at the end. This applies even though “business” ends with an “s,” which many people get confused with. However, when you use the plural form “businesses,” you can add an apostrophe without an “s” to the end to show ownership.
So, in singular form, “business'” is wrong. In plural form, “businesses'” will be correct. For that reason, we can’t give you any examples for “business’.”
5 Examples Of How To Use “Businesses”
We can give you some examples of how to use the plural form “businesses,” though. Once you’ve looked through these examples, you should be able to see the stark contrast between what makes a word possessive and what makes it plural. “Businesses” is the plural form of “business,” which means multiple businesses are being spoken or written about when using it.
- There are a lot of businesses down this street.
- I’ve worked for many businesses in my time.
- We work for different businesses.
- Which of these businesses looks the most desirable to you?
- How many businesses does he own?
When we use the plural form, it’s typical to add an “s” to the end of the word to show more than one of those objects. However, when that word ends in “s” already (like “business”), we have to add an “es” to the end to make sure the “s” letters remain separated. Otherwise, we’d be stuck with “businesss,” which just looks funny!
It’s worth mentioning that both “business’s” in the singular possessive form and “businesses” in the plural form are pronounced exactly the same way when spoken. This is probably what leads to most people’s confusion when learning the words and trying to write them down.
How To Remember If The Correct Spelling Is Business’s, Business’ Or Businesses
We’ve covered all we can say about the three different words. Only two are correct, and they mean different things about “businesses.” However, it’s important to try and come up with a solid way to remember the difference. One of the best things that we can say to you is to include the “-‘s” when using the possessive form. Since this rule applies to all singular words, it’s a good one to remember.
It’s also good to understand the importance of the rules associated with pluralization. When we pluralize a word, we add an “s” to the end. Make sure to check the word’s spelling before doing so, as any word that ends in an “s,” “ch,” or “sh,” will actually need to have an “es” on the end of it for it to make sense. Even though this might sound difficult, the rules begin to make more sense when you get more familiar with the words that it is applied to.
One final note to help you avoid using “business'” is to remember that you never drop the “-‘s” suffix when using the singular plural form. Just imagine writing the word as you would say it. Since you say “business’s” emphasising the “s” letters, make sure you keep them all in. There are a few exceptions to that rule, but they’re mostly names (like Moses’ or Jesus’).
Quiz: Have You Mastered The Business’s, Business’ Or Businesses Grammar?
Now we get to the quiz section of this article. This is where we sum up all your newfound knowledge to see whether you can figure out the correct grammar rules for each question. Make sure you read the questions through fully to understand the structure of the sentence before giving your answer. You’ll either be using the singular possessive form or the plural form for each one. Good luck!
- How many (A. business’s / B. business’ / C. businesses) do you own?
- Those are the (A. business’s / B. business’ / C. businesses) private documents.
- You can’t read the notes for my (A. business’s / B. business’ / C. businesses) employees.
- You’ve inspected how many (A. business’s / B. business’ / C. businesses)?
- I work for three different (A. business’s / B. business’ / C. businesses).
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Martin holds a Master’s degree in Finance and International Business. He has six years of experience in professional communication with clients, executives, and colleagues. Furthermore, he has teaching experience from Aarhus University. Martin has been featured as an expert in communication and teaching on Forbes and Shopify. Read more about Martin here.