‘Mothers' or 'Mother's': What's the Difference?

By Amy Gilmore, updated on May 21, 2023

Are you wondering whether to use 'mothers' or 'mother's?' I can help!

I explain the difference in this guide and give definitions, meanings, and usage tips.

Are you in a hurry?

If so, here is a quick answer: 

  • 'Mothers' is the plural form of the noun mother. 
  • 'Mother's' is the possessive singular form of the noun mother. 

If you have time, stick around to learn when and how to use each term.

What is the Difference Between 'Mothers' and 'Mother's?'

Both terms are forms of the mother, a noun for a female parent. However, one is appropriate for discussing more than one mom. The other is a possessive form of the singular noun.

Adding an apostrophe s on the end of mother implies that a mother owns something. 'Mothers,' on the other hand, does not show possession but is the plural form.

When to Use 'Mothers' or 'Mother's?'

Choosing between versions of the same word can be confusing. So, here is a cheat sheet to help you determine when to use each.

  • Use the plural form when you are talking about more than one female parent.

For example, you could say:

I know the mothers. Most of them are friendly. 

  • Use 'mother's' when you are talking about something that belongs to your mother.

For example, I might say something like this to my sister:

The plate on the left is mother's. 

  • Use the second form when you are showing possession by one mother.

For example, I might say something like:

My mother's favorite place was the beach at sunrise or sunset. 

  • Use 'mothers' with an apostrophe at the end if you are saying that more than one mother owns something.

For example, someone might say:

Each year the women get together to share recipes and cooking tips. Those are the mothers' best dishes. 

Definition of 'Mothers': What Does It Mean?

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the first term is the plural form of 'mother,' meaning:

  • A female parent

It can also mean:

  • An older woman
  • A woman who guides others
  • A woman with high status in a religious order

It can also be a verb, meaning:

  • Nurturing and raising a child
  • Taking care of others
  • Being mindful of the well-being of others
  • Giving birth to a child


  • Moms
  • Mommas
  • Mamas
  • Mommies
  • Matriarchs
  • Stepmoms

Definition of 'Mother's': What Does It Mean?

You know the definition of 'mother.' However, when you add an apostrophe s, the meaning changes to:

  • The possession of a single mother

It can also mean:

  • Something belonging to one mother
  • An idea or concept belonging to one mother

Terms Containing 'Mother's'

  • Mother's intuition
  • Mother's love
  • Mother's milk
  • Mother's cooking

Pronunciation: How to Pronounce 'Mothers' or 'Mother's'

Knowing how to pronounce words properly increases your self-confidence and makes speaking in public less stressful. It can also help you remember the difference between two words.

Here is a pronunciation guide to help:

  • Use this phonetic spelling to pronounce 'mothers':


  • Use this phonetic spelling to pronounce 'mother's correctly':


As you can see, the pronunciation of both terms is the same. So, knowing the correct pronunciation does not help you to differentiate between them.

Plural and Possessive Noun Rules

When dealing with plural and possessive nouns, like, it helps to know a few basic grammar rules.

  • Add an -s to the end of most singular nouns to make the word plural.

For example:

The kids are playing in the yard.

  • Add an apostrophe s to the end of a singular noun to show that something belongs to one person, place, or thing.

For example:

The products are all her's. She creates the original designs, and a manufacturing company makes them.

  • Add an s followed by an apostrophe to the end of singular nouns to show possession by two or more people, places, or things.

For example:

When you visit, I will take you to see the girls' school.

  • Add -es to the end of singular nouns that end in to make them plural.

The lenses are hard to see through when they get foggy.

Sample Sentences Using 'Mothers' or 'Mother's'

You are likely ready to use these terms. But before you go, take a look at the example sentences below to ensure you have a firm grasp on how to use 'mothers' or 'mother's.'


  • Our mothers are best friends even though we rarely talk.
  • Did your mothers attend PTA events when you were growing up?
  • How do mothers balance the things they want and need for themselves with everything they have to do for their kids?
  • Why do mothers always worry about their children?
  • The organization of Mothers and Daughters does charity work to raise awareness for physical and mental health conditions affecting women.
  • Your mothers have to deal with your noisy brothers and your nosy sisters.
  • There are many people who move closer to their mothers when they have children.


  • My mother's favorite food is green chicken enchiladas. The color is different, but they are really tasty.
  • Have you gone to your mother's house recently? If not, I am sure she misses you.
  • Are you going to your mother's favorite restaurant for Mother's Day?
  • Our mother's house has violet flowers in the yard.
  • It has been nice knowing you. When your dad sees that you wrecked your mother's car, he is going to ground you forever.
  • I would hate to be on your mother's bad side. She is strict and intimidating.
  • We are not staying at your mother's house, are we? The last time we stayed there, she kept us up all night doing chores and woke us up at the crack of dawn.
  • Your mother's philosophy is that the early bird gets the worm.

The Last Word on 'Mothers' or 'Mother's'

We reviewed a lot of information.

So, let's do a quick recap: 

  • 'Mothers' is the plural form of the noun mother
  • 'Mother's' is the plural possessive form of mother.

You can also write a few practice sentences to really cement what you learned into your brain. However, if you ever forget the difference between 'mothers' and 'mother's' in the future, you can always come back here for a quick review.

If you want to expand your vocabulary and develop stronger grammar skills, take a look at the other confusing word guides here. They each contain definitions, examples, usage tips, and other valuable information.

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Written By:
Amy Gilmore
Amy Gilmore is one of the lead freelance writers for WritingTips.org. She has been a professional writer and editor for the past eight years. She developed a love of language arts and literature in school and decided to become a professional freelance writer after a demanding career in real estate. Amy is constantly learning to become a better writer and loves sharing tips with other writers who want to do the same.

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