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    #1

    James'/James's arms broke when he fell heavily.

    James'/James's arms broke when he fell heavily.

    Which bold word should I use?

    Thanks.

  1. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: James'/James's arms broke when he fell heavily.

    You'll see both. I use only James's.
    However, the sentence would be more natural as "James broke both his arms when he fell." or "When James fell so heavily, he broke both [his] arms."
    Last edited by Rover_KE; 20-Feb-2014 at 09:23.
    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.

  2. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: James'/James's arms broke when he fell heavily.

    We use a slightly strange construction when we talk about fractured limbs. We make it sound as if it is the person's fault!

    He broke his leg.
    She broke her arm.
    He's broken five ribs.

    Obviously, the person did not injure those parts of their anatomy themselves (unless they are suffering from Munchausen's Syndrome), but that is how we generally say it.

    Context will tell you if it means "We are talking about Gary and Gary now has a broken leg" or "We are talking about Gary who attacked Nigel and now Nigel has a broken leg, courtesy of Gary".

    Gary attacked Nigel and broke his leg. Nigel is now in hospital.
    Gary attacked Nigel and, in the process, broke his leg. Gary is now in hospital.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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    #4

    Re: James'/James's arms broke when he fell heavily.

    Like Barb, I too always write James's.

    See also the Similar Threads below.

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    #5

    Re: James'/James's arms broke when he fell heavily.

    As an example of how you may see both, the park in London is called St James's Park, but Newcastle United's stadium is St James' Park.

    http://www.royalparks.org.uk/parks/st-jamess-park
    http://www.nufc.co.uk/page/Club/StJamesPark/Home

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