Thursday, September 11, 2014

Possessives for Proper Nouns Ending in S

The General Rule
"The possessive of singular nouns is formed by the addition of an apostrophe and an s, and the possessive of plural nouns by the addition of an apostrophe only. The general rule for the possessive of nouns covers most proper nouns, including most names ending in sibilants (a definite "es" or "ez" sound):
  • Kansas's
  • Texas's
  • Dickens's novels
  • Ross's land"
Angel Edits ends in s, so technically, if Angel Edits owns something, it would be Angel Edits's.
  • Angel Edits's Blog
  • Angel Edits's Website
  • Angel Edits's Facebook Page
This sounds so clumsy and looks awful. 

Exception Number One
"Another widely used technique is to write the word as we would speak it. For example, since most people saying, "Mr. Hastings' pen" would not pronounce an added s, we would write Mr. Hastings' pen with no added s. But most people would pronounce an added s in "Jones's," so we'd write it as we say it: Mr. Jones's golf clubs. This method explains the punctuation of for goodness' sake."

You wouldn't say Angel Editses. You would just say Angel Edits.

Exception Number Two
"If [a polysyllabic personal name] ends with a z sound, treat it like a plural; if it ends with an s sound, treat it like a singular:
  • Dickens', Hopkins', Williams'
  • Harris's, Thomas's, Callas's"
Edits is polysyllabic and I could push it and call it a personal name:
  • Angel Edits' Blog
  • Angel Edits' Website
  • Angel Edits' Facebook Page
According to this rule, or exception to the general rule, if your character has a name ending in s and makes the s sound, you add the 's:
  • Les's car
  • Travis's bike
But if your character name has more than one syllable and ends in the z sound, you omit the extra s:
  • Mercedes'
While most names ending in s make the s sound and won't qualify for the exception, Angel Edits ends in the z sound, so I'm going with it.

Exception Number Three
"Consistency is the key here: if you choose not to add the -s after a noun that already ends in s, do so consistently throughout your text."

So, as long as I'm consistent, I'm gold. 


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