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  1. #1
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    Default according to William Strunk Jr.

    One must "form the possessive singular of nouns by adding 's," even if the last letter in the word is S; therefore, it's Harris's book, not Harris' book. Was Mr. Strunk being pedantic? I have to admit, I am a bit reluctant to add 's to words ending with the letter S, so now I'm doing my best to avoid writing them at all. I know, however, that it's not right to avoid the problem... Can anybody help me out?

  2. #2
    Mad-ox's Avatar
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    Default Re: according to William Strunk Jr.

    hi,

    You are talking about Synthetical Genitive.
    This Genitive is formed as follows:

    1. singular+'s
    eg. My mother's blouse
    The teacher's desk

    2. plural noun+'
    eg. The boys' ball
    The parents' bedroom

    3. irregular plural nouns+'s
    eg The women's society
    The children's toys

    4. Proper nouns ending in -s usually get only the apostrophe, although 's may also be used, in either case the ending of the noun being normally pronounced /iz/

    eg Dickens' novels
    Dickens's novels


    Have a nice evening,
    madox

  3. #3
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    Default Re: according to William Strunk Jr.

    Oh, okay. Thank you very much.

  4. #4
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: according to William Strunk Jr.

    I have seen people say that the 's' should be added for last names and foreign names, so there are different views on the issue. I use it in names where it is an accepted form (St James's Park), but I would say "Dickens' novels".

  5. #5
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    Default Re: according to William Strunk Jr.

    So would I be right in saying that it's okay either way? Perhaps, since people seem to be divided on this issue, I should just go with popular usage and reserve using my s's for the accepted forms. Hmm...good advice, good advice.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: according to William Strunk Jr.

    AFAIK, we don’t add –s to famous people’s names, though we do pronounce [iz] anyway.
    Socrates’ ideas
    Dickens’ novels

  7. #7
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    Default Re: according to William Strunk Jr.

    Thank you very much for the input.

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