Understanding Species’, Species’s, and Species: A Simple Guide

When it comes to the English language, the way we show possession can sometimes be tricky, especially with words that end in “s” like “species.”

Whether you’re writing a science report or just curious, understanding the difference between “Species’,” “Species’s,” and “Species” is important. Let’s dive into each term with simple explanations and examples.

Species (Plural and Singular)

First, it’s essential to know that “species” can be both singular and plural. This means that whether you’re talking about one kind of animal or plant or many, you use the word “species” in the same way.


  • The cheetah is a species known for its speed. (Singular)
  • There are many endangered species in the rainforest. (Plural)

Species’ (Plural Possessive)

“Species’” (pronounced “species”) is used to show possession when talking about one species or multiple species. It can seem a bit confusing, but the rule is simple: if what you’re describing belongs to one species or multiple species, you add an apostrophe at the end of the word without adding another “s.”


  • The species’ habitat is under threat. (Referring to the habitat of one species)
  • Several species’ survival is at risk. (Referring to something belonging to several species)

Species’s (Singular Possessive) – Less Common

While “Species’s” might be used by some people or in certain style guides, it is less common and can be considered incorrect in standard usage. The confusion comes from trying to apply the general rule of adding “’s” to make something possessive, which doesn’t neatly apply to words ending in “s” like “species.” For simplicity and clarity, it’s recommended to stick with “species’” for both singular and plural possessive forms.

Read More: Understanding Species’, Species’s, and Species: A Simple Guide

Understanding the Differences: A Table

To help make these differences clearer, let’s break them down in a table:

FormUsageExample Sentence
SpeciesSingular and pluralThe cheetah is a species known for its speed.
Species’Singular and plural possessiveThe species’ habitat is under threat.
Species’sLess common/often considered incorrect(It’s recommended to use Species’ instead)

Tips for Remembering

  • Species is both singular and plural – no changes needed.
  • Species’ shows possession, regardless of it being singular or plural.
  • Avoid using Species’s; stick with Species’ for simplicity and to avoid errors.

Understanding how to use “Species,” “Species’,” and “Species’s” correctly helps in writing clear and precise English, especially in scientific contexts. Remembering these rules can save you from common mistakes and improve your writing’s accuracy. Hopefully, this guide has made the concept easier to grasp!

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