Grammar Hammer

From The Facebook:

How many lines of code does it take to figure out if a last name ends with an ‘S’? And how many more to toggle between ’s and s’?

From [WP]:

If a name already ends with an s, the extra s is sometimes dropped: Jesus’ parables. This is more common in U.S. usage and with classical names (Eros’ statue, Herodotus’ book). Additionally, many contemporary names that end with -es (a -z sound) will see the extra s dropped by some writers: Charles’ car, though most style guides advocate Charles’s car.

Update: I was completely wrong citing the example at the bottom. I’m keeping it around for no real reason. Thanks [Drew].

When the noun is plural and already ends in s, no extra s is added in the possessive, so pens’ lids (where there is more than one pen) rather than pens’s lids. If the plural noun doesn’t end in s, then add s as usual: children’s hats.

It’s simple grammar. Oh well.


About andyhillky
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4 Responses to Grammar Hammer

  1. Chris Hodes says:

    I always ran into that problem as a kid. Some schools (NJ, mainly) taught that I would say Hodes’ and others (SC and GA) taught Hodes’s. I asked my teachers in the south about it and they just told me to do it their way cause it made more sense. Apparently, it can go both ways, but I like the s’ better.

  2. bofe says:

    At least they didn’t say Hode’s.

  3. Drew says:

    While your sentiment is apt, your example WP quote is irrelevant. The noun in question is not, in fact, plural. There is only one Allie Wiles. Or, at least, only one being discussed. Therefore, the quoted rule does not apply. However, according to the Modern Language Association (MLA), when dealing with singular proper nouns (i.e. last names) and their possesive form, either an apostrophe-s combination or a simple apostrophe will suffice. Originally, MLA distinguished between singular and plural possessive proper nouns (i.e. David Jones’ newspaper, and “Keeping up with the Jones’s”), but the organization has since adopted both forms for modern singular usage.
    (As if that doesn’t suck enough, Webster’s now considers “nū’kyə-lər” a proper alternative pronunciation of the adjective nuclear. Blame that shit on Superman IV.)

  4. bofe says:

    I just got schooled.

    Awesome. What’s the ‘official’ pronunciation of the possessive of Allie Wiles?

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