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Thread: Possessive S

  1. #11
    Jeanne Gassman
    Guest

    Re: Possessive S

    Yes, that's the rule. The exception to the use of s's with names ending in s is for ancient names. For example, you would write Jesus' or Germanicus', but for a name like Agnes, the correct form is Agnes's.

    I have no idea why ancient names receive this privilege. I just know that's the rule that shows up in my grammar books.

    And it would be goodness' sake, not goodness's sake. I'd have to look up the rule for that one, but I believe that's the correct form. Right, June?

    Jeanne



  2. #12
    June Casagrande
    Guest

    Re: Possessive S

    Patrick:

    Re goodness: Exactly! But it only applies to "sake" and not, say, "seat."

    Re Jesus: You got it right, according to Chicago, but it's not because he gets special treatment. It's for the same reason as "goodness." Three s's lined up due to "sake." (Again, per "Chicago")


    Rogue: Having a special rule for "ancients" is an AP and a Strunk & White thing. (S&W have no authority in printing world, though. Neither papers nor books use them as their official style.)

    Chicago has a rule for "names like Euripides," but it doesn't apply to Jesus.

    Chicago:
    Jesus's words
    BUT
    Jesus' sake
    BUT
    Jesus's seat

    AP:

    Jesus' words
    Jesus' sake
    Jesus' seat
    BUT
    The boss's chair
    The boss' seat

    For Chicago, though, at the end of all their many rules is a note that says, basically, "if all this is too confusing, just add the apostrophe and s to everything." Which makes all the pro-Angnes's people as right as anyone and perhaps wiser, too!

    I guess my point is even the rule makers struggle with this stuff!

  3. #13
    Patrick Edwards
    Guest

    Re: Possessive S

    The boss' seat

    And, just to be sure, when speaking this particular phrase, we do pronounce it "boss-es seat," right?

    P.S. remind me to not use Jesus or boss or seat or words or sake in any of my writing--in any combination!

  4. #14
    Rogue Mutt
    Guest

    Re: Possessive S


    Rogue: Having a special rule for "ancients" is an AP and a Strunk & White thing. (S&W have no authority in printing world, though. Neither papers nor books use them as their official style.)


    Guess I don't get my gold star then. Dang.

  5. #15
    June Casagrande
    Guest

    Re: Possessive S

    Didn't see yours before I hit "post," Jeanne. I don't know how many other books state that "ancients" stuff as a "rule," but "Chicago" doesn't see it quite the same way. And since that's the one the publishing houses usually follow, I don't bother trying to take sides.

    My rule: Don't even try to commit it all to memory. Just check "Chicago" if writing a book and "AP" if writing an article.

  6. #16
    C Bets
    Guest

    Re: Possessive S

    P.S. remind me to not use Jesus or boss or seat or words or sake in any of my writing--in any combination!

    My thoughts exactly!! Sheesh!!

  7. #17
    June Casagrande
    Guest

    Re: Possessive S

    Patrick: Re pronunciation. I don't know for sure. But that's how I say it.

  8. #18
    June Casagrande
    Guest

    Re: Possessive S

    Thanks for the inspiration, everyone, just when I needed a blog topic!

    blog

    (In case my hyperlinking fails, it's at www.conjugatevisits.blogspot.com)

  9. #19
    C Bets
    Guest

    Re: Possessive S

    Too funny, June! Short, sweet, definitely to the point over there. Leaves no room for misunderstanding - well, sortof. ;-)

  10. #20
    June Casagrande
    Guest

    Re: Possessive S

    Thanks.

    Some people find the insanity of it all frustrating. Not me. I think it's a relief. Like, "Thank heaven I'm NOT supposed to know all this stuff off the top of my head."

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