These two sentences appear on the same page of an online dictionary.

Possessive pronouns are pronouns that demonstrate ownerships.

Possessive pronouns include my, mine, our, ours, its, his, her, hers, their, theirs, your and yours - all words that demonstrate ownership.

It makes me wonder which form--plural or singular--makes more sense in this situation per se. I would go with plural. I am assuming the rational for the singular use is that the author takes ownership as an abstract concept here. But is this usage common enough to make sense/make the sentence sound natural?

Some more examples, as mentioned in a comment:

Oxford Online Dictionary:

‘Whenever press ownerships have been allowed into commercial television ownership, the situation has been favourable to the emergence of media moguls.’

Wikipedia pages (not Wiktionary):

The company has evolved through several corporate ownerships since its establishment in 1960 in North Carolina.

  • 1
    I think the example sentence quoted from YD would read better with the singular ownership.
    – J.R.
    Commented Feb 14, 2018 at 11:10

1 Answer 1


I agree with J.R. about the first example -- it looks strange as a plural.

The only time I'd use the plural ownerships is when the fact of multiple owners is exactly what's being discussed. This is the case in the Wikipedia example, and to a lesser extent in the Oxford -- it's important in those contexts to identify the fact that there are multiple owners, either in sequence or simultaneously.

  • Agreed, the online dictionary's "ownerships" could probably be considered a typo.
    – Matt
    Commented Feb 15, 2018 at 4:06

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .