|Use of the apostrophe|
We have had two questions about use of the apostrophe:
Everson Mpofu in Zimbabwe asks:
What distinct difference is there between the use of an apostrophe on plurals that end with ‘s?like boys?toys and names that end with ?b>s?like Jesus's gown?
Marsden in Canada asks: When I was in school and taught
about apostrophes, one thing I remember was that nouns ending in
a double ?b>s?simply took the apostrophe without adding another
?b>s? Examples: the princess?crown and the boss?
secretary. In the USA you would see princess's and boss's as
standard practice. Has it come to this in the UK?
The possessive 's is used in a number of different ways to signal any of the following:
you are using a regular plural noun ending in ?b>s? you simply
add an apostrophe (?/b>):
if the singular noun ends in ?b>s?as in your example, Everson,
you can either just add an apostrophe (?/b>) or apostrophe 's'
Note that these spellings are pronounced differently. If you simply add an apostrophe, the pronunciation does not change, but if you add apostrophe 's' ('s), the possessive is pronounced /iz/.
singular nouns ending in double 's', as in your examples, Jeff,
I think it is more normal to add apostrophe 's' ('s) because the
spelling with apostrophe s then indicates the pronunciation required:
Other things to watch out for when using the possessive s:
If something belongs to, or is associated with, more than one person
whose names are linked by and the apostrophe 's' ('s)
is placed after the second name:
See also the Learn it! age: Possessive apostrophes