Right, let’s get down to business! Is businesses, business’s, or business’ the correct plural form of business?
The correct plural form of the word “business” is “businesses” when you are referring to a company.
If you are referring to something a business owns, you would use the possessive form of the word “business”, which is “business’s”.
Let’s take a look at the difference between businesses, business’s and business’ in more detail.
First off, there’s the uncountable meaning of “business” as in “Let’s do business together” or “I went to Japan on business.” This definition doesn’t have a singular or plural form, so no need to worry about possessive forms.
However, the word “business” can also mean a company or enterprise, as in “I have an online business.” This form can have a plural form, which is the word “businesses”, as in “I own different businesses around the world.” So, we change business to businesses when we are referring to more than one business.
Business can also have a possessive form, which is “business’s.”
Businesses – The Plural Form of Business
When referring to companies, “businesses” is the plural form of the word “business.”
“Elon Musk has started many businesses in different fields.”
“I own several businesses in the education industry.”
“Serial entrepreneurs can start many businesses over the course of their careers.”
When referring to a company, “business’s” is one way of writing the singular possessive form of the word “business.” Most style guides use “business’s”, although the Associated Press style guide can omit the ‘s.
When we use business’s, we are referring to something the business or company owns.
Examples using business’s:
“The business’s profits were lower this year.”
“The business’s website is one of the best for finding good hotels.”
“All of the business’s employees have had the last three Christmases off.”
“Business'” is another way of writing the singular possessive form of the word “business” when referring to companies.
Examples using business’:
“These are the business’ laptops.2
“We need to take a look at the business’ social media accounts to see how they are performing.“
Businesses’ is the possessive form of the word “Businesses”, which is the plural form of business when referring to companies. This can be used to show that many companies collectively own something.
“This company handles their businesses’ financial accounts really effectively.”
“The businesses’ employees are their most important asset.”
Conclusion: Businesses, Business’s or Business’?
So, now that we’ve attended to business it should hopefully be clear that businesses is the plural form of business. The plural possessive form of businesses is businesses’.
If you want to refer to business in its singular possessive form you can use either business’s or business’. Just make sure that you stay consistent throughout your text and use the same style each time. You can always ask the person you are writing for which style guide to follow if you are unsure.
Singular Noun: Business
Singular Possessive: Business’ or Business’s
Plural Noun: Businesses
Plural Possessive: Businesses’
Still confused? No worries! If the possessive form is too much, just say “X belongs to the business.” Happy writing!