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    • Join Date: Jun 2009
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    #1

    the possessive form of words ending in 's'

    What is the correct possessive form of Moses or Jesus? Is it correct to say Moses' hat or Moses's hat? I always use the first one, but I'm wondering what the rule is. Does any name ending in 's' only need the apostrophe to show possession? I usually write Chris's hat, but now I'm uncertain if that's correct. What about something belonging to Mike Jones? Would that be the same as Chris or Moses? Thanks for your response.

  1. engee30's Avatar
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    #2

    Smile Re: the possessive form of words ending in 's'

    Quote Originally Posted by elizabethnickel View Post
    What is the correct possessive form of Moses or Jesus? Is it correct to say Moses' hat or Moses's hat? I always use the first one, but I'm wondering what the rule is. Does any name ending in 's' only need the apostrophe to show possession? I usually write Chris's hat , but now I'm uncertain if that's correct. What about something belonging to Mike Jones? Would that be the same as Chris or Moses? Thanks for your response.
    Names ending in -es pronounced [iz] are treated like plurals and take only an apostrophe. So you write Moses'.
    The form Jesus' is an accepted liturgical archaism. But in non-liturgical use, Jesus's is acceptable.


    • Join Date: Mar 2009
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    #3

    Re: the possessive form of words ending in 's'

    Should you say "Chris' book" or "Chris's book"? It is simply a style issue.

    Grammar Girl did a fabulous episode about it and explains it in depth.

    engee30 was correct about Jesus and Moses:

    *The exceptions according to Fowler’s are words such as Moses and Bridges that end with an s that makes an /iz/ sound, classical names such as Zeus and Venus, and Jesus. Fowler's suggests that all of these words should end with just an apostrophe(e.g., Moses' tablets).
    So, you may absolutely continue writing "Chris's books" or "Kansas's state laws" but you should still write "Jesus' disciples" and "Moses' actions"

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