Business’s vs. Business’ Understanding the Possessive Form in English Grammar

When it comes to possessives, one common dilemma many writers face is whether to use “business’s” or “business’.” These two forms may look similar, but they have distinct rules and applications. In this article, we will delve into the proper usage of “businesses” and “business'” and provide examples to clarify any confusion.

Understanding Business and Business’

Firstly, let’s understand the difference between the two. “Business’s” is a possessive form of the word “business,” indicating ownership. On the other hand, “business'” is also a possessive form but is specifically used for singular nouns ending in “s.”

Correct Usage of Business’s

“Business’s” is used when referring to something that belongs to a specific business. For example, “The business’s profits increased last year,” or “The business’s marketing strategy is effective.”

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Correct Usage of Business’

“Business'” is used when a singular noun ending with “s” possesses something. For instance, “The restaurant’s business’ success soared after the renovation.” Here, “business'” shows that the success belongs to the restaurant.

Examples of Businessesa and Business’

The company’s business’s reputation is impeccable.

The bank’s business’ investments grew by 20%.

John’s business’s revenue exceeded expectations.

Confusing Cases: Business’s vs. Business’

In certain situations, it can be challenging to determine which form to use. For instance, with nouns ending in “s,” both forms may appear plausible. To resolve this, consider rephrasing the sentence. For example, instead of saying, “James’s business’ expansion,” you can say, “The expansion of James’s business.”

Tips for Proper Usage

To ensure clarity in your writing, follow these tips:

For singular nouns not ending in “s,” use “business’s.”

For singular nouns ending in “s,” use “business’.”

For plural nouns not ending in “s,” use “businesses.”

For plural nouns ending in “s,” use “businesses’.”

Businesses and Business’ in Plural Form

When dealing with plural nouns, it is important to know how to form possessives correctly. For example, “The companies’ businesses thrived during the economic boom.”

Businesses and Business’ in Possessive Form

In possessive form, both “businesses” and “business'” are used to indicate ownership. For example, “The business’s growth was remarkable,” and “The business’ profits increased significantly.”

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Confusing plural possessives with singular possessives.

Using “business’s” for plural nouns ending in “s.”

Using “business'” for singular nouns not ending in “s.”

Enhancing Your Writing with Correct Usage

Proper use of possessives not only makes your writing grammatically sound but also adds clarity and professionalism. Mastering these nuances can elevate your writing to the next level.


Q: Can “business'” be used for plural nouns?

A: No, “business'” is only used for singular nouns ending in “s.”

Q: Is it acceptable to use “business’s” for plural nouns? 

A: No, “business’s” is only used for singular nouns not ending in “s.”

Q: How do I avoid confusion between “businesses” and “business'”?

A: If you encounter confusion, consider rephrasing the sentence or consulting a style guide.

Q: Can “businesses” be used for inanimate objects? 

A: Yes, “business’s” can be used to indicate possession by inanimate objects, as long as they are singular.

Q: Is it incorrect to use “business'” for singular nouns not ending in “s”? 

A: Yes, using “business'” for singular nouns not ending in “s” is grammatically incorrect.


Understanding when to use “business’s” or “business'” is crucial for clear and effective communication. By following the guidelines presented in this article, you can confidently use possessives in your writing.

Now, go ahead and enhance your writing with these valuable insights on possessives. By using “business’s” and “business'” appropriately, you will convey ownership and build stronger connections with your readers.

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