Boys or Boy's or Boys': What is the Plural Form?

By Carly Forsaith, updated on September 29, 2022

Are you confused about whether you should write 'boys,' 'boy's' or 'boys"? If so, this article will help you decipher between the three confusing words so you'll know how to navigate both the singular and plural forms of the word 'boy.'

Here is the quick answer:

  • Boys is the plural form of the noun 'boy'
  • Boy's is the possessive form of the singular noun 'boy'
  • Boys' is the possessive form of the plural noun 'boys'

Which Form to Use: Boys, Boy's or Boys

Whether or not to use 'boys,' 'boy's' or 'boys" is a matter of whether or not you are using the possessive form. Read on to understand further.

Boys, Boy's or Boys': Using Possessives

The possessive form in grammar regulates the use of apostrophe + -s to denote possession. Let's see how this applies to the word 'boy' specifically.

Boy: Singular Form

'Boy' is a singular noun that refers to a male child. Here is an example of the word used in a sentence:

  • We're having a baby, and it's a boy!
  • There is only one boy in the swimming club.
  • What is that boy doing?

Boys: Plural Form

'Boys' is the plural form of the word 'boy.' The -s is added to show that there is more than one boy. For example:

  • All the boys in my grade are taller than me.
  • The boys decided to play in the park.
  • Why are the boys all wearing stripes?

Boy's: Possessive Form of the Singular

'Boy's' is the possessive form of the singular word 'boy.' You can use it to talk about something that belongs to a boy. For example:

  • It's not my ball; it's that boy's.
  • The boy's eyes are green.
  • Have you seen the boy's pencil case?

'Boy's' is also a contracted form of 'boy is.' Contractions are a way to shorten a sentence by using an apostrophe. For example:

The boy is running over this way


The boy's running over this way.

Using 'boy's' in this way has nothing to do with the possessive form, but I wanted to mention that here so that if you see it being used when it does not describe ownership, you will understand why.

Boys': Possessive Form of the Plural

'Boys" is the possessive form of the plural noun 'boys.' You can use it to talk about something that belongs to more than one boy. For example:

  • You should have seen the boys' faces when I told them.
  • You can find that item in the boys' section of the store.
  • Can you tell me where I can find the boys' artwork?

Final Thoughts on 'Boys,' 'Boy's' or 'Boys"

To know more about possessives, you might read our other article, Parent's' or 'Parents': Which is Correct Grammar? Where we elaborate a little more on some standard conventions around using possessives and some exceptions.

For where 'boys,' 'boy's' or 'boys" is concerned, this article is enough to help you know which one to use and when. What does it come down to? Whether or not you are using the possessive form and whether the noun is singular or plural.

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Written By:
Carly Forsaith
Carly Forsaith is one of the lead freelance writers for Carly is a copywriter who has been writing about the English language for over 3 years. Before that, she was a teacher in Thailand, helping people learn English as a second language. She is a total grammar nerd and spends her time spotting language errors on signs and on the internet.

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