Correct Possessive Form For Proper Names

Status
Not open for further replies.
A

Anonymous

Guest
Hi. One thing I have always struggled with is the correct grammar and punctuation when using the possessive form of a proper name in that ends in the letter 's', such as Jones. The example is, "I walked over to Sarah Jones's house on Saturday."

I think the correct spelling is "Jones's", but I have seen it spelled many times without the final s, and in fact, I have even seen it spelled without the apostrophe and final s, which I am sure is not correct.

Please let me know the rule.
 

Tdol

Editor, UsingEnglish.com
Staff member
Joined
Nov 13, 2002
Member Type
English Teacher
Native Language
British English
Home Country
UK
Current Location
Japan
You'll see both used. We tend to omit with historical names and if the last syllable is pronounced 'iz'. With other names, it's basically a matter of choice as far as I'm concerned. ;-)
 

MikeNewYork

VIP Member
Joined
Nov 13, 2002
Member Type
Academic
Native Language
American English
Home Country
United States
Current Location
United States
Resaw said:
Hi. One thing I have always struggled with is the correct grammar and punctuation when using the possessive form of a proper name in that ends in the letter 's', such as Jones. The example is, "I walked over to Sarah Jones's house on Saturday."

I think the correct spelling is "Jones's", but I have seen it spelled many times without the final s, and in fact, I have even seen it spelled without the apostrophe and final s, which I am sure is not correct.

Please let me know the rule.

This area is very confusing because different sources use different "rules". There is no universal standard. I'll give you some of the more common rules. You should pick the rule that works for you and then use it consistently. However, you will still run into others who have chosen differently.

Forming a possessive from a name ending in "s".

1. Always add 's to the end.

2. Always add 's to the end of one-syllable names. Add just an apostrophe to the end of names of two or more syllables.
James's
Phyllis'

3. Always add 's to the end unless that creates a repetition of the same sound at the end.

Moses' instead of Moses's
Jesus' instead of Jesus's
Narcissus' instead of Narcissus's

4. Add 's to the end if you would pronounce the new syllable. Add only an apostrophe if you wouldn't pronounce the new syllable.

Moses' = Moses
Moses's = Moseses

:wink:
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top