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‘Business's or Business' or Businesses': What's the Difference?

Shaun Connell
April 16, 2024

Are you curious whether to use 'business's or business' or businesses?' Don't worry, I am going to explain each to you.

Before we get started, here is a quick overview in case you are short on time: 

  • Business's is the singular possessive form of the noun business. 
  • Business' is an alternate singular possessive form of business. 
  • Businesses' is the plural possessive form of business. 

If you are still confused or would like to learn more about how and when to use each form of business, keep reading!

What's the Difference Between, Business's or Business' or Businesses'?

Business's, business', and businesses' are all possessive forms of the noun business. The difference between them is that business's and business' are both singular possessive, and businesses' is the plural possessive form of the noun.

So, how do you know which singular possessive version to use?

Well, the truth is, it depends. In most cases, business's is preferable. However, in informal communications or texts that do not adhere to a specific style guide, business' is also acceptable. 

Writing Tips: When to Use Business's or Business' or Businesses'

Even after someone explains the difference between these possessive forms of business, knowing which to use can be confusing. So, here are some tips with examples.

  • In personal communications, you can use business's or business' to show that one business has possession.

So, if I was writing a casual email to a friend or family member, I might say:

Do you know the business' return policy? This outfit looks terrible on me. 


Do you know the business' customer service number? I need to contact them about my order. 

  • If you are working as a freelance writer, always refer to the style guide indicated by the client.
  • If you are using Chicago, APA, or MLA style, use business's. 

For example, you would write something like:

The business's rent was overdue, and the owner had no idea how he would come up with the money. 

  • Use business's or business' when you are adhering to AP style.

As an example, I might write:

The business's taxes were due, but the accountant was out sick. 


The business' taxes were due, but the accountant was under the weather. 

  • No matter what style guide you are using, businesses' is the only way to show possession by multiple businesses.

For example, you could write:

The businesses' proposals had to be submitted by January 31st to be considered for the contract. 

Definition of Business's: What Does Business's Mean?

To get a better understanding of the meaning of business's let's look at the definition of business. 

Definition of 'Business'

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines 'business' as a noun that means:

  • A mercantile or commercial activity someone engages in as a form of earning a living
  • An industrial or commercial enterprise
  • Transactions or dealings of an economic nature
  • An immediate task, mission, or objective
  • A specific field of endeavor
  • A matter or affair
  • A personal matter or concern
  • A pet's bowel movement
  • Busyness or purposeful activity

Synonyms of Business

  • Enterprises
  • Companies
  • Firms
  • Outlets
  • Stores
  • Corporations
  • Agencies
  • Conglomerates

Meaning of Business's

There is no specific definition for business's however, when you add an apostrophe to the end of a singular word, it shows singular possession.

So, business's means that a single business possesses or owns something.

Definition of Business': What Does Business' Mean?

You just learned the definition of business, so let's look at how adding an apostrophe to the end without an changes the meaning.

Meaning of Business'

Business' means the same thing as business'sBoth mean that one business has possession or owns something.

Definition of Businesses': What Does Businesses' Mean?

Businesses is the plural form of business. So, businesses' is the plural possessive form of the noun, meaning multiple businesses possess something.

Pronunciation: How to Pronounce Business's or Business's or Businesses'

The pronunciation of these three forms of business only confuses things. Nevertheless, here is a quick pronunciation guide you can reference.

  • Use this phonetic spelling to pronounce business':


  • Use this phonetic spelling to pronounce business's:


  • Use this phonetic spelling to pronounce businesses':


Sample Sentences: Business's, Business', Businesses'

Now, read these sample sentences using each business version to ensure you know and remember how to use each possessive form.


  • The business's marketing plan must be updated to reach its target audience better.
  • Did you see the business's new logo? It looks great, and a high school student did it.
  • The writers rewrote the business's web copy.
  • Isn't that business's hold music annoying?


  • The business' earnings fell significantly during the first quarter of the year.
  • If the business' new product line does not impress consumers, it will be out of business.
  • The managing editor read the business' earning reports and gave each writer a prompt for an interesting story they could write using the data.
  • The business' response time is ridiculous. I was on hold for ninety minutes the other day before a representative finally picked up the phone.


  • Alone, the businesses could not come up with a solution, but when the businesses' resources were put together, they were able to create something that exceeded everyone's expectations.
  • Did you attend the tradeshow this year? The businesses' booths were incredible.
  • The businesses' home offices are scattered throughout the United States and Canada, but they were able to collaborate remotely.

Quick Recap: Business's or 'Business' or Businesses'

Finally, let's quickly recap what you learned about the difference between business's or business' or businesses': 

  • Business's is the preferred singular possessive form of the noun business. 
  • Business' is an alternate singular possessive form of business. 
  • Businesses' is the only plural possessive form of the noun business. 
  • You should consult your style guide to determine the correct form to use.

Remembering can be challenging even after learning what each of these words means and how to use them. So, if you need a reminder, you can always return to this page for a quick review of this lesson.

And if you want to improve your grammar and spelling skills, check out a few other guides before you go.

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Written By:
Shaun Connell
Shaun Connell has spent his entire career either working as a freelance writer or hiring freelance writers for his many successful publications. Shaun has learned the exact tricks of the trade to hire the perfect writer for almost any niche.

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