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A person who possesses something owns it. When you buy something, you are the owner and you own it; however, we use this word for particular objects:

  • Kevin owns a house.
  • Olivia owns some property in Florida.
  • Our neighbors own three cars.
  • Kate used to own two horses, but then she sold them.
  • The owner of the company also owns the building in which he does business. (The word "owner" is the noun form of "own." It’s a person.)

owner He owns the building. He’s the owner.

So "own" is often used with fairly big things, but you can use it with smaller things:

  • Vince owned a couple of guns that he used for hunting, but he gave them away.
  • I own several guitars.
  • Do you own a computer?

However, the use of "own" for small things sounds silly:

  • She owns a pencil. / They own a basket. (Don’t use "own" as a verb for something that has very little value.)

You can use "own" as an adjective. In this case, you can put it in front of anything when you want to emphasize ownership:

  • They own their own house.
  • Do you have your own car?
  • You’ll need to bring your own paper and a pen to class.
  • I don’t have my own computer. I have to go to the library to use one.

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This page was first published on January 7, 2012. It was updated on December 17, 2016.