Parent’s or Parents’ – Master The Plural Possessive Form

There are MANY words in the English language that writers commonly confuse. Things only get worse when punctuation is involved! In this post, we will focus on the difference between the words parents’ vs parent’s in your writing. This lesson will demonstrate how to use the word parent in the singular possessive form and plural possessive form!


Which Is Correct: Parents’ or Parent’s?

picture demonstrating the difference between parent's house and parents' house

Just like we saw in our analysis of when to put an apostrophe after S, it can be tricky to get your punctuation right. However, in this case, the key to knowing how to use the word parent depends on your understanding of singular and plural nouns.

  • Parent’s – Putting the apostrophe before the S indicates the singular possessive form. In other words, a single parent owns something.
  • Parents’ – Putting the apostrophe after the S indicates the plural possessive form. In other words, more than one parent owns something.

When To Use Parents’ House

After you have mastered how to use apostrophes correctly, the spelling of parent becomes simple. As we already mentioned, parents’ is used to indicate that multiple parents own something.

  • Don’t touch the car it’s my parents’ car.
  • I am lucky that I get to live in my parents’ house until I get my own place.

Sentence Examples

Here are some example sentences that show how to use parent in the plural possessive form. Remember, using the apostrophe after the -S demonstrates that there are two or more parents involved.

  1. My parents’ house is located just outside of New York City.
  2. My parents’ car is a very old and beat up minivan.
  3. I always ask my parents’ advice before making big decisions in my life.
  4. The parents’ association at the school organized a fundraiser for kids with disabilities.
  5. I’m preparing a surprise party for my parents’ anniversary next week.

Just like we saw with the phrases “thank you both” and “thanks to both of you”, small spelling changes can make a huge difference.


When To Use Parent’s House

picture of a family and their house

The phrase parent’s house indicates singular ownership. In other words, the singular possessive noun parent has ownership of their house. The word parent is not the only word that follows this punctuation rule. The words lot’s and lots follow the same rules!


Sentence Examples

Here are some sentence examples to demonstrate the singular possessive form of parent. This word is used to show that only one parent owns something.

  1. My parent’s car is a red convertible.
  2. I asked my parent’s permission before going to the party with my friends.
  3. The parent’s meeting at school was well-attended by the entire neighborhood.
  4. I am staying at my parent’s house for the weekend because the weather is too poor to drive home.
  5. The parent’s association at the school is very active at passing new rules and regulations.

Just like we saw with the phrase doctor’s appointment, punctuation makes a big difference in the meaning of a sentence.


Plural vs Plural Possessive Form

Many new writers do not know the difference between plural & plural possessive words.

  • Plural – The form of a word that indicates there is more than one of something. For examples, “dogs” to indicate multiple dogs.
  • Plural Possessive Form – Used to indicate possession or ownership by more than one person or thing. For example, “dogs’ toys” indicates that the toys belong to multiple dogs.

Common Phrases

Now you know this grammar rule. However, there are still some common phrases that writers get confused frequently.

  1. Question: Parent’s or Parents’ Meeting?
  • Answer: If a single parent, use parent’s meeting. If multiple parents, use parents’ meeting.
  1. Question: Parent’s or Parents’ Consent?
  • Answer: If a single parent, use parent’s consent. If multiple parents, use parents’ consent.
  1. Question: Parent’s or Parents’ Anniversary?
  • Answer: If a single parent, use parent’s anniversary. If multiple parents, use parents’ anniversary.
  1. Question: Parent’s or Parents’ House?
  • Answer: If a single parent, use parent’s house. If multiple parents, use parents’ house.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the plural of parents?

The word parents is the plural form of parent. Adding an -S makes the noun parent plural, meaning multiple parents. For example, you might say “Both of Jake’s parents are very kind people.”

How do you use parents in a sentence?

Here is an example of how to use parents in a sentence, “Marks parents are both very generous people.”

How do you write a parent’s signature?

If you are referring to the signature of a single parent, you would say “parent’s signature”. However, if you are referring to the signature of both your parents, you would say “parents’ signatures.”

Do you put an apostrophe in parents?

You only put an apostrophe in parents to indicate ownership of something. The apostrophe shows possession. For example, if you are referring to a single parent you might say “My parent’s house is very large.” However, if you are talking about more than one parent, you might say “my parents’ house is very large.”


Final Thoughts

By now you should be an expert on how to use the word parent in singular and plural possessive form! If you want to demonstrate singular possession, use parent’s. If you want to demonstrate plural possessive, use parents’. And if you want to indicate there is more than one parent present, use parents. If you still need some extra help with this grammar rule & are wondering “is this gramatically correct” then use our FREE tool!