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  1. #1
    Diane Rogers
    Guest

    Possessive names that end in s

    I'm having a hard time swallowing something my editor told me about possessive s's. I've always understood that you could show possession with just the apostrophe after the final s, or that you could also show it with the s's. I.e., Diane Rogers' pen or Diane Rogers's pen. I prefer to write using just the apostrophe. However, I was told that according to (please forgive me, I don't remember the full name of the manual, but it was something with Chicago in it) that manual, it HAS to be done s's. Jeanne, are you the one who is the grammar guru? What say you?

    Diane



  2. #2
    Steven Labri
    Guest

    Re: Possessive names that end in s


  3. #3
    Steven Labri
    Guest

    Re: Possessive names that end in s

    Q. When indicating possession of a word that ends in s, is it correct to repeat the s after using an apostrophe? For example, which is correct: “Dickens’ novel” or “Dickens’s novel”?

    A. Either is correct, though CMOS 15 recommends the latter. Please consult 7.18–22 for a full discussion of the rules for forming the possessive of proper nouns, including exceptions and examples. For a simpler statement of the rule, see paragraph 5.26. For a discussion of the alternative practice of simply adding an apostrophe to form the possessive of proper nouns ending in s, see paragraph 7.23.

  4. #4
    Diane Rogers
    Guest

    Re: Possessive names that end in s

    Thanks, Steven. I thought it was considered correct either way, I didn't realize one was more correct than the other. Damn, I hate it when he's always right, even when I'm partly right. Why the hell make a rule, if it's not going to stand? Arrgh!

    Diane

  5. #5
    Jeanne Gassman
    Guest

    Re: Possessive names that end in s

    Hi, Diane. I haven't on here for a while because I'm in Vermont, but your editor is correct. You use the apostrophe s for names ending in 's.' The exception to this is with ancient names that end in 'S': Claudius', Jesus', Tiberius'.

    Hope that helps.

    Jeanne

  6. #6
    eilidh >>>
    Guest

    Re: Possessive names that end in s

    Thank you for bringing this issue up. I got confused, too by a grammar book which said Rogers' book would be ok. Rogers's book it is.

    E.

  7. #7
    June Casagrande
    Guest

    Re: Possessive names that end in s

    Chicago Manual of Style:
    James's words
    James' sake
    James's seat

    Associated Press Stylebook:
    James' words
    James' sake
    James' seat
    BUT
    The boss's words
    The boss' sake
    The boss' seat

    Strunk & White's The Elements of Style:
    James's words
    James's sake
    James's seat
    BUT
    Jesus' words
    Jesus' sake
    Jesus' seat

    In other words: Trying to make "sense" out of it is a waste of time. I think you should just trust your editor to observe the most important thing -- consistency -- and leave it at that.

  8. #8
    June Casagrande
    Guest

    Re: Possessive names that end in s

    Fun with the Chicago Manual

    Diane: You’ve inspired me. That last bit I copied from an old blog entry I did. But you got me thinkin’: How much similar fun can we have with JUST Chicago? Let’s see ...

    Thomas’s situation
    Thomas’ sake
    the bass's swimming
    politics' meaning
    United States’ borders
    Jesus’s ideas
    Euripides’ ideas*
    Camus’ novels
    Brad’s and Jen’s cars
    Brad and Jen’s divorce

    Those are all according to the Chicago Manual of Style. Think that's a mess? So do they: “An alternative practice. Those uncomfortable with the rules, exceptions, and options outlined above may prefer the system, formerly more common, of simply omitting the possessive s on all words ending in s."

    And, THAT, Diane is why your way is as “right” as your editor’s. But it’s not about right and wrong. It’s just about style.

    * (Jeanne: The “ancients” rule is a Strunk and White thing. Chicago's exception has to do with names that end in an “eez” sound, like Euripides.)

  9. #9
    eilidh >>>
    Guest

    Re: Possessive names that end in s

    The AP Stylebook does simply away with s's, Strunk&White mark the opther extreme with only certain (and a few) proper names being exempt from the iron s's rule.

    All others are somewhere in between.

    Brad and Jen's divorce.

    Although the MS word grammar wants me to write the above, I tend to want to hear Brad's and Jen's divorce.

    ???

    E.

  10. #10
    Steven Labri
    Guest

    Re: Possessive names that end in s

    Personally, I think s's just looks wrong, and after all, isn't it the look we are going for? Another thought, why is there a rule with surrounding a quote with quote marks? Think about it. If the sentence shows, he said or she said, wouldn't you know it a quote?

    Just sayin . . . I mean sayin'.

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