Imagine you are walking with your friend waiting for a meeting to get started and suddenly you come to yourself and notice that one of your shirt's / jeans'/ coat's buttons has been lost! You want to express your surprise or annoyance to your friend. What would be the best way to inform someone about it:

1- My shirt's button fell off.
2- My shirt's button has fallen off.
3- My shirt's button is missing.

  • 1
    This seems to be a "magic words" type question. The simple fact is that there is not always a single best way to express something. There could be hundreds of ways of expressing some aspect of annoyance at losing a button. Perhaps if you indicated why you think these examples might be problematic.
    – James K
    Apr 25, 2019 at 20:04

3 Answers 3


In the way you are phrasing it, a native might say

My shirt button has fallen off.

The possessive "'s" is not necessary since the button does not belong to your shirt, both belong to you.
Shirt is used as an adjective in this case.


You could say:

My shirt has lost a button.

  • 2
    This is what I would use. Or, I might say, "I lost a button off my shirt." But the point is: When I announce that I've lost a button, the word button is more likely to be an object than the subject of the sentence (as in the OP's examples).
    – J.R.
    Apr 25, 2019 at 20:18

All of the above options are fine. My most natural way to say it would probably be something like:

I lost a shirt-button.

My jeans-button is gone.

Note that I made a compound noun of "shirt-button" and "jeans-button", specifying the type of button. I think the fact that I lost the button is more important in my mind, rather than using "shirt's button" to give possession of the button to the shirt. I care that I lost my button, chuckle.

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