Hers or Her’s – Which is Correct?

Apostrophes have many uses in English. They replace the missing letters in contractions like they’re and shouldn’t. They also indicate possession in the suffix –‘s, like in the titles of the books The Time Traveler’s Wife and Rosemary’s Baby.

Even though apostrophes are useful, there are some contexts where they are inappropriate. Apostrophes are never used to form plurals, for instance. They are also unnecessary with possessive pronouns.

This rule is not always easy to remember. Some possessive pronouns, like hers and theirs, end in S already, so it seems intuitive to add the apostrophe. As we will see, though, this usage is not correct.

What is the Difference Between Hers and Her’s?

In this article, I will compare hers vs. her’s. I will use each of these words in at least one example sentence, so that you can see them in context.

Plus, I will show you a helpful memory tool that you can use to determine whether her’s or hers is the correct word.

When to Use Hers

hers versus her’sHers is an absolute possessive pronoun. It indicates possession or ownership.

Specifically, hers is a third person singular feminine pronoun and is used with singular feminine subjects.

For instance, if the subject of the sentence were Queen Elizabeth, we would use the pronoun hers to describe something that belonged to her.

English has many possessive pronouns.

Here are a few others,

  • His: singular third person masculine
  • Theirs: plural third person neutral
  • Mine: singular first person neutral
  • Ours: plural third person neutral
  • Yours: singular or plural second person neutral

And here are some sentences containing hers,

  • Don’t eat Lauren’s pizza; it is hers, and she will get upset.
  • Angela will take the blame for the mistake; the responsibility is hers.
  • Of course, they also could have concluded that her calm reflected a flippant attitude, which is also not a trait of hers. –The New York Times

When to Use Her’s

Definition of her’s definition of hers definitionNow that we know the function of hers in the sentence, the mistake that arises from the use of her’s is obvious. That is to say, many people use her’s as if it were a possessive pronoun.

This, however, is an incorrect formulation.

It’s easy to see why writers and language learners get this confused. The apostrophe is often used to indicate possession, like Lauren’s pizza in the above example. Since there is already a pronoun her, and hers ends with an S, it might seem only natural to include an apostrophe.

With possessive pronouns, though, the possession is already baked into the word itself—no apostrophe needed.

Possessives like hers, theirs, and yours do not take an apostrophe, even though they end in S.

Trick to Remember the Difference

Define her’s and define hersRemembering her’s vs. hers is easy since only one of them is ever correct in written English.

  • Hers is the correct way to spell this word.
  • There are no situations where her’s is accepted.

If you are having trouble remembering when to use hers, don’t worry. There is an easy way to tell.

Hers is a possessive pronoun, and as such, it needs no apostrophe. Since other possessive pronouns like mine and his also don’t need apostrophes, it should be easy to remember that hers follows the rules and also doesn’t take an apostrophe.

Summary

Is it her or her’s? Hers is a singular third person feminine possessive pronoun. It indicates possession of something by a single female person or animal. Her’s is a common misspelling of this pronoun.

To summarize,

  • Hers is a possessive pronoun.
  • Her’s is an incorrect formulation of hers.
[i]
[i]