Apostrophe with "z" ending



How should an apostrophe be used when a proper name ends with a "z"? Sanchez's or simply Sanchez'?

Posted 29 October 2002

This posting was researched and written by Janet Johnston of Pearson Education:

In Words Into Type (3/e, Prentice Hall, 1977, p. 479):

Proper names. The possessive form of almost all proper names is formed by adding apostrophe and -s to a singular or apostrophe alone to a plural.

Among the examples listed are these two: "Shultz's" and Shultzes'; the first is the singular; the second is the plural. The next paragraph goes on:

Whenever the apostrophe and -s would make the word difficult to pronounce, as when a sibilant occurs before the last syllable, the apostrophe may be used alone.

An example they state following that paragraph is Xerxes. as in Xerxes' army. This tells me that either of the versions of Sanchez that Vera asks about is correct for the singular. If she wants the plural, it has to be the second spelling. This also leads me to conclude that the same rules apply as to any other proper name ending in a sibilant /s/z/: just think of it as a different pronunciation of -s.