The possessive form doesn’t have to be difficult. Once you understand the rules that apply to certain words, you’ll have an easy time remembering most of them. This article will explore the possessive form of “family” and how to use it.
Families or Family’s or Families’: Which Is The Correct Possessive Form?
The correct possessive form of “family” is “family’s.” We follow the simple rule of adding an apostrophe and an “S” to the end of “family” to show the possessive form. The plural possessive is “families’,” where the extra “S” is unnecessary at the end.
Typical rules for the possessive form teach us that an “‘s” should be added to the end of a singular word (for the most part).
For the plural possessive form, only an apostrophe is needed in this case. This is because the double “S” ending of the plural word “families’s” would be too confusing to read. The second “S” is a redundant letter here.
To help you understand the differences, you can refer to the following:
We’ll start with the easiest of the three forms. “Families” has nothing to do with the possessive form, after all.
“Families” is the plural of “family.” We use it when talking about more than one “family” in a sentence. The “families” do not possess any object; they are simply the subject of the context.
There are no possessions involved with the plural form. That’s why it’s the easiest form we can talk about in this article. You simply change the singular “family” to “families” because the “Y” at the end of “family” turns into an “ies” ending.
Here’s what we mean:
- The families would like to gather around the campfire at dawn.
- We should appreciate our families more when they’re around us.
- Why can’t all families just get along like we do?
- We should make sure that the local families are comfortable this Christmas.
- Which of your two families are you spending the holidays with?
- There are about twenty different families arriving today.
“Families” is always more than one “family.” That’s the only time we’ll ever need to use it in a sentence.
“Family’s” is the first possessive form we want to mention.
“Family’s” is the singular possessive form. This is used when one “family” owns an object in the sentence. We do this by placing the object directly after “family’s” to show what they own.
We add an apostrophe and an “S” to the end of the singular “family” when using this form. We must add the apostrophe because “familys” would indicate a plural word (even though the plural of “family” is “families”).
Here are some examples to elaborate:
- My family’s home will be renovated over the next few weeks.
- The family’s holiday plans have been changed drastically due to unforeseen circumstances.
- My family’s time together is what’s most important to them.
- The family’s children are all annoying to listen to, so I stay well away!
- My family’s new game is something that I’d recommend everyone to try at least once.
- This family’s party is going to be very exciting, as long as everyone shows up.
An object should come directly after “family’s.” This puts that object under the possession of the family.
- Family’s table
The subject, “family,” owns the object, “table.”
The last possessive form to go through is a little more tricky. It doesn’t follow the usual possessive form rules of simply adding an “‘s” to the end.
“Families” is the plural possessive form. We take the plural “families” and add an apostrophe to the end of it. We do this to show that multiple “families” possess an object or group of objects in a sentence.
It’s common to see the plural possessive in many cases, but we must always remember to drop that last “S.” There are no times where “families’s” is correct because the extra “S” adds no further value to the spelling of the word.
Here are some examples marked correct and incorrect to show you what we mean:
- Correct: The families’ retreat is going well, and we can’t wait to see what they all learn from it.
- Incorrect: The families’s time together is breaking everyone apart.
- Correct: All of the families’ secrets are coming out, which is making it hard for anyone to speak to each other.
- Incorrect: These families’s affairs are getting far too much for me to keep on top of.
- Correct: The families’ vacation was something that everyone else envied in our classes.
- Incorrect: Many families’s incomes are much worse than you might imagine due to the pay gap.
“Families'” is the only correct plural possessive form.
It works in the same way as the singular possessive when dealing with objects. The object comes directly after “families'” to highlight the possessive form, and multiple “families” subsequently own that object.
Quiz: Have You Mastered Families or Family’s or Families’?
Finally, let’s see what you’ve learned from this article. We’ve put together a quiz to help you figure out which possessive form you might need in each of the sentences below.
- My (A. families / B. family’s / C. families’) vacation is coming up soon, and we haven’t made many plans about it.
- Your (A. families / B. family’s / C. families’) are all going to be gathered together again soon.
- We need to find our (A. families / B. family’s / C. families’) common ground. That way, everyone will be able to get along.
- The (A. families / B. family’s / C. families’) son is going to go places. We can already tell that at such a young age.
- My (A. families / B. family’s / C. families’) estate is one of the largest places in the city!
“Family’s” is the correct possessive form when we want to use it in the singular. This means only one family owns an object. “Families'” is the plural possessive form, meaning multiple families own either one or multiple objects. Make sure you remember the apostrophe rules for both!
You may also like: Womans or Woman’s or Womens’? (Correct Possessive Explained)
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.