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Thread: Possessive S

  1. #1
    Michelle McLean
    Guest

    Possessive S

    Okay, I am having a little dispute with my editor. There is a character named Agnes in my book and we disagree over whether the possessive of her name should be Agnes's or Agnes'. I've seen both ways, and my editor agrees that both ways are correct, but he prefers Agnes'. Anyone know for sure?



  2. #2
    June Casagrande
    Guest

    Re: Possessive S

    Chicago Manual of Style: Agnes's
    Associated Press Stylebook: Agnes'

  3. #3
    Steven Labri
    Guest

    Re: Possessive S


    Depends on who has the money.

  4. #4
    Anthony Ravenscroft
    Guest

    Re: Possessive S

    I'm going to disagree with your editor -- using Agnes' in print is awkward, & I don't happen to care what stylebook is used. It might be okay in a newspaper, but I think it'd suck rocks in fiction.

  5. #5
    C Bets
    Guest

    Re: Possessive S

    That's one of my pet peeves, actually. I know that things have relaxed and both are now "acceptable," but I'm still of the old school that s' is a plural possessive, and s's is singular; hence Agnes's is proper, imo.

    But Steven probably has the best answer. And if the editor prefers the other way, this is one of those times you need to pick your battles wisely.

    C

  6. #6
    Patrick Edwards
    Guest

    Re: Possessive S

    Maybe even consider a new name....

    (But, yeah, I agree with the others: The editor is [sorta-kinda] in control here....)

    P.S. I prefer Agnes's. But, yeah, either way is pretty awkward. I TRY not to end with an "s" any of my main character's name (huh?). I try to limit the "s" ending to the peripheral characters. That way, if I must use the possessive (which I will), then I won't use it that much.


  7. #7
    Rogue Mutt
    Guest

    Re: Possessive S

    Yes, I avoid using names ending with 'S' like the plague. It just gets annoying.

  8. #8
    June Casagrande
    Guest

    Re: Possessive S

    So, for all the apostrophe-plus-s advocates, would you actually opt for "Jesus's sake" over "Jesus' sake??

    How about "goodness's sake" vs. "goodness' sake"?

    (Note: It's a trick question, just for fun. I have "Chicago" open in front of me as I type this.)

  9. #9
    Patrick Edwards
    Guest

    Re: Possessive S

    With Jesus example, I'd go with the s', seeing as Jesus can stand on his own.

    As for goodness, I'd go with the s' as well, seeing as there'd be far too many s's involved. (Actually, would I have written "s"s OR esses OR s'?)


  10. #10
    Rogue Mutt
    Guest

    Re: Possessive S

    Isn't it s' for Jesus and other ancient personages?

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