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Possessives ending with the letter S: s' or s's?

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Paragon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-09-04 03:46 PM
Original message
Poll question: Possessives ending with the letter S: s' or s's?
Edited on Fri Apr-09-04 03:47 PM by Paragon
i.e. Bridget Jones's Diary, etc.

Yes, I know they're both correct - which one do you use?
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nothingshocksmeanymore Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-09-04 03:50 PM
Response to Original message
1. I thought the rule was s's if it was a one syllable word
and s' if the word was more than one syllable......grammar scholars???
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Catshrink Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-09-04 03:52 PM
Response to Reply #1
3. What do you think of the Cubs's chance for the World Series?
Somehow, Cubs's doesn't look right. But then how does the Cubs' rotation look? It's a tough one!


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Book Lover Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-09-04 04:11 PM
Response to Reply #1
7. Chicago Manual of Style 15e sez
7.17 Most nouns. The possessive of most singular nouns is formed by adding an apostrophe and an s, and the possessive of plural nouns (except for a few irregular plurals that do not end in s) by adding an apostrophe only. This practice, used in conjunction with the exceptions and options outlined in 7.19-22, reflects the way possessive forms are generally pronounced and is largely faithful to Strunk and White's famous rule 1. ... Since feeling on these matters sometime run high, users of this manual may wish to modify or add to the exceptions.

Additionally, according to 7.21, "To avoid an awkward appearance, an apostrophe without an s may be used for the possessive of singular words and names ending in an unpronounced s. Opt for this practice only if you are comfortable with it and are certain that the s is indeed unpronounced.
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findyouranswers Donating Member (18 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-09-04 03:51 PM
Response to Original message
2. I believe either is acceptable in most situations
I use s' unless it is a proper name like "Jones" then I use "Jones's."

Anyone wonder why English is so peculiar sometimes?
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jdsmith Donating Member (612 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-09-04 03:53 PM
Response to Original message
4. Rule #1 in Strunk and White
For any singular, form the possessive by adding "'s" unless the word is a proper name from antiquity (e.g., "Moses' travels," "Sophocles' plays").
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Catshrink Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-09-04 03:56 PM
Response to Reply #4
5. So, define antiquity...
I'll accept Strunk and White as an authority... my HS English teacher wanted us all to have a copy handy as we wrote papers.

So, S&W would say it's "Cubs's" huh? Sure looks weird, but I guess that doesn't much matter, does it?
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jdsmith Donating Member (612 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-09-04 04:04 PM
Response to Reply #5
6. For the SINGULAR
("Cubs" is plural)

Antiquity for S&W amounts to Greek, Latin, Hebrew, pre-Middle Ages. I wonder what they'd have us do with current versions of old, OLD names. Like: "In _The Big Lebowski_, John Turturro grabs Jesus' crotch."
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soothsayer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-09-04 09:58 PM
Response to Reply #4
11. serious editors scoff at strunk and white
They like the latest edition of the Chicago Style Manual, or the New York Times.

But this is the kind of question they like to bat about at cocktail parties.
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jdsmith Donating Member (612 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-10-04 03:45 PM
Response to Reply #11
12. Who do you trust?
Serious editors or Charlotte the spider?

Note how the earlier post re: Chicago still has a note of deference to S&W.
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On the Road Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-09-04 04:15 PM
Response to Original message
8. It's Different for Common or Proper Nouns
According to The Chicago Manual of Style and Strunk and White's Elements of Style, you make a possessive out of common nouns ending in "s" by adding an apostrophe, regardless of whether they're singluar or plural. You should write: ships' sails, workers' rights.

In most cases, you make a possessive out of proper nouns (such as people's names) by adding an apostrophe and an "s." You Should write: Bridget Jones's diary, Prince Charles's haircut. The additional "s" should be pronounced ("Charl-zez").

According to the Chicago Manual of Style, the only exceptions are the names Jesus, Moses, and certain multisyllabic ancient Greek names, such as Aristopheses. It is permissiable to say "Jesus' words" or "Socrates' teachings."

There may be some leeway nowadays -- some people allow either method for any name -- but I think that's a less rigorous standard.

Cheers! :toast:
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GoddessOfGuinness Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-09-04 04:56 PM
Response to Original message
9. s'...
Why waste ink?
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rock Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-09-04 05:55 PM
Response to Reply #9
10. That seems to be the modern style
Simplify
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jdsmith Donating Member (612 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-10-04 03:46 PM
Response to Reply #10
13. As in "Nurses Station" or "Pikes Peak"
"GRRRRRRRR." --Robert Browning
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southerngirlwriter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-10-04 03:48 PM
Response to Reply #9
14. U R Rite.
Y do ppl wast ink? Do U no? Pls tell me if U do. ;-)
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