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  1. Unregistered
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    #1

    Question 's' plural

    Which is correct?

    1a. There are different kinds of rules.
    1b. There are different kinds of rule.

    2a. The student' books.
    2b. The students' books

    When do we have to use 's' plural possessive in this context?

    The right answers (based on my feeling) are 1a and 2a but I do not why if you ask me the reasons. That is why I come to this site asking for some help.

  2. davidbailey's Avatar
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    #2

    Arrow Re: 's' plural

    [QUOTE=Unregistered;539902]Which is correct?

    1a. There are different kinds of rules.

    1a is correct...not much confusion here. Good job! ;)
    2b. The students' books

    2b is correct here if you are referring to the books of the students.

    When do we have to use 's' plural possessive in this context?

    Basically...you use the plural form to indicate that more than one person or thing is being referred to. But there are variations of how the possessive is used.

    Instead of listing them all here...I will point to you to a few good resources that can explain it in more detail to help you really nail this down.

    http://www.meredith.edu/grammar/plural.htm
    http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/621/01/
    http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/possessives.htm

    There are some exercises for you to practice with at the end of the third link there.

    Enjoy! ;)

    Last edited by davidbailey; 30-Nov-2009 at 14:55.

  3. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: 's' plural

    Hi David,
    Can you clarify your comment about the extra s after the s'?

    I don't have my Elements of Style handy, but could it possibly really say that the plural possessive for student is students's books?? That makes no sense.

    (For the singular Charles, then yes, Charles's, but not students's.)
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

  4. davidbailey's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: 's' plural

    You got me Barb.
    I stand corrected...and so is my post.

    It had to do with one of the links above...
    And I was looking at singular examples vs. plural. Duh...

    Your example hit the nail on the head.
    Thanks for the clarification.

  5. Sensible's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: 's' plural

    Quote Originally Posted by Barb_D View Post
    Hi David,
    Can you clarify your comment about the extra s after the s'?

    I don't have my Elements of Style handy, but could it possibly really say that the plural possessive for student is students's books?? That makes no sense.

    (For the singular Charles, then yes, Charles's, but not students's.)
    As I understand it, showing possession with nouns ending in 's' (eg Charles, James...) should be spelled Charles', James'....though pronounced with a double 's' sound....as in 'Charlesez'.

    Eg. Charles and James' books are the same colour.

    HTH

  6. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: 's' plural

    Whew! Thanks David.

    I knew ONE of use was losing it, but since I hadn't had my coffee yet, I wasn't really sure which :)

    Sensible - that extra "s" is a matter of style. I always use it. Charles's, James's.

    I think it looks completely odd without it: Mary's and James' bikes? No, Mary's and James's bikes -- when I write it.

    But as it's a matter of style, consistency is key; there is no "right" (except to be inconsistent).
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

  7. Sensible's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: 's' plural

    Quote Originally Posted by Barb_D View Post
    Sensible - that extra "s" is a matter of style. I always use it. Charles's, James's.

    I think it looks completely odd without it: Mary's and James' bikes? No, Mary's and James's bikes -- when I write it.

    But as it's a matter of style, consistency is key; there is no "right" (except to be inconsistent).
    I actually disagree Barb. I teach British English and have resolved to accept American English. What you write makes sense phonetically but is not either Cambridge or Oxford English.

    I met my wife in St James' tube station.

    I hate this argument coz I have had it before and got nowhere.

    Maybe I will learn from this but just now I think that I am right.

  8. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: 's' plural

    Well, note that my sig line says "American English."

    Rules of Usage. Strunk, William, Jr. 1918. Elements of Style
    Possessive Forms

    As I said before, being consistent is key. So we can both be right -- as long as we don't write "Charles's" in the first paragraph and "Charles'" in the second one.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

  9. bhaisahab's Avatar
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    #9

    Re: 's' plural

    Quote Originally Posted by Sensible View Post
    I actually disagree Barb. I teach British English and have resolved to accept American English. What you write makes sense phonetically but is not either Cambridge or Oxford English.

    I met my wife in St James' tube station.

    I hate this argument coz I have had it before and got nowhere.

    Maybe I will learn from this but just now I think that I am right.
    I'm with you sensible.

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    #10

    Re: 's' plural

    How to write correctly if we want to refer to the books of the students?

    1) The student's books or 2) the students' books.

    If I read the above explanation, (1) refers to singular possessive and (2) refer to plural possessive. Am I right?

    I learned from school that I do not need to use plural form of the word 'student' if I want to refer lots of books belong to the students (plural not singular), so the student's books is correct. It is confusing to me.

    Same to the kinds of rules versus the kinds of rule. What is the different?

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