These usually occur when a noun has a compound modifier, that is, a modifier that is made up of more than one word. The classic example of this is “small-business owner” vs. “small business owner.” Is the owner of a business diminutive, or is the business itself small? Depends on the hyphen .
own . (transitive) To have rightful possession of (property, goods or capital); to have legal title to.
own . Belonging to; possessed; proper to .
owning . But picture Ben and Betsy, two city dwellers, neither owning a car. 22. 12. Although the population, commerce and wealth of Rostock have declined since Hanse days, it has a considerable trade, being the chief commercial town of Mecklenburg and owning a considerable fleet.