Understanding “Student’s”, “Students’”, and “Students”: A Simple Guide

When writing or speaking in English, it’s super important to get the little details right, especially when it comes to showing who owns something or talking about more than one person. Today, we’re diving into a common puzzle: when to use “Student’s”, “Students’”, or just “Students”.

It might sound a bit tricky, but don’t worry! We’ll make it as easy as pie with examples and a handy table to guide you.

Who Owns What? Singular vs. Plural Possessive

Who Owns What? Singular vs. Plural Possessive

First off, let’s break down what we mean by singular possessive, plural possessive, and just plain plural. This will help you understand when to add just an apostrophe (‘), an apostrophe plus an “s” (‘s), or to leave the word as it is.

  • Singular Possessive: This shows that one person or thing owns something. For example, “the student’s book” tells us that one student has a book.
  • Plural Possessive: This one’s for showing that something belongs to more than one person or thing. “The students’ books” means that several students have some books, and they all share ownership.
  • Plural: Simple enough, this just means more than one person or thing, like “the students are here,” telling us that there’s a group of students.

The Simple Guide: When to Use Which

“Student’s” (Singular Possessive)

  • Use it when: You’re talking about one student owning something.
  • Example: “The student’s laptop is new.” (One student has a new laptop.)

“Students’” (Plural Possessive)

  • Use it when: You’re talking about something that belongs to more than one student.
  • Example: “The students’ classroom is on the second floor.” (The classroom belongs to several students.)

Read More: Understanding “Monday’s,” “Mondays’,” and “Mondays”: A Simple Guide

“Students” (Plural)

  • Use it when: You’re simply mentioning more than one student, with no ownership involved.
  • Example: “Many students participate in sports.” (More than one student joins in sports activities.)

Handy Table for Quick Reference

Handy Table for Quick Reference

To make things even clearer, here’s a table that lays it all out:

FormWhen to UseExample Sentence
Student’sOne student owns somethingThe student’s book is on the table.
Students’Something belongs to more than one studentThe students’ project won the prize.
StudentsTalking about more than one studentFive students are going on the trip.

Practice Makes Perfect

Now that you’ve got the basics, it’s your turn to try! Look at the sentences below and decide which form to use. Don’t peek at the answers until you’ve given it a shot!

  • “The _______ (students/student’s/students’) homework was really hard.”
  • “All the _______ (students/student’s/students’) scores have improved.”
  • “Yesterday, a _______ (students/student’s/students’) notebook was found in the library.”


  • students’ (Because the homework of several students was hard.)
  • students’ (Because the scores of all the students have improved.)
  • student’s (Because the notebook belongs to one student.)

Wrapping It Up

By now, you should feel a bit more confident about when to use “Student’s”, “Students’”, and “Students”. Remember, the key is to think about whether you’re talking about one person or more and whether something belongs to them. With a little practice, you’ll get the hang of it in no time!

Keep this guide handy, and don’t be afraid to look back if you need a quick reminder. English can be tricky, but it’s also fun to learn. Keep up the good work, and happy writing!