Author Topic: The Apostrophe  (Read 344 times)

Offline heartsongjt

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The Apostrophe
« on: November 15, 2018, 08:36:22 PM »
The Apostrophe

In contracted words place the apostrophe where letters are omitted, and do no place elsewhere.

Wrong: does'nt, theyr'e , oclock

Right: doesn't  they're, o'clock

To form the possessive of a noun, singular or plural, that does not end in s, add  's.

Right:  A hunter's gun, children's games,  the cannon's mouth.


To form the possessive of a noun, singular or plural, that ends in  s,  place an apostrophe after ( not before) the  s  if there is no new syllable in pronunciation.    If there is a new syllable in pronunciation,  add  's.

Wrong:  Moses's mandates,  Keat's poems, Dicken's novels, those hunter's guns.

Right:  Moses' mandates,   Keats's poems (or Keats' poems), Dickens' (or Dickens's) novels,  those hunters' guns.

Do not use an apostrophe with its(as a possessive),  his, hers, ours, yours, theirs, or whose.
But indefinite pronouns in the possessive case (one's, other's, either's) take the apostrophe.

Right:  The cat washed its face. [The apostrophe, hoeever, is required in the contraction it's   for  it is.]

Add 's  to form the plural of letters of the alphabet, of words spoken of as words, and sometimes numbers.

Right:  His B's, 8's (or 8s), and it's look much alike.
Wrong:  The Jones's, the Smith's, and the Brown's.
Right:  The Joneses,  the Smiths, and the Browns.

Joint possession requires the use of the apostrophe with only the last name in the series; seperate possession, wit each name in the series.

Joint possession:  Snow and Brady's store is at the corner.

Seperate possession:We shall invite John's, Gilbert's, and Henrietta's playmates.

For inanimate objects: It is usually awkward and slightly illogical to attribute possession to inanimate objects.

Awkward: The farm's management.
Better:  The management of the farm.

Awkward: The stomach's lining.
Better:  The lining of the stomach.
Note: Usage justifies many exceptions, particularly
(1) expressions that involve time or measure, a day's work, a hair's breadth, a year's salary, a week's vacation, a cable's length; and
(2) expressions that involve personification, explicit or implied, Reason's voice, the law's delay, for mercy's sake, the heart's desire, the tempest's breath.

Good luck with your writing.   jt
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hillwalker3000

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Re: The Apostrophe
« Reply #1 on: November 16, 2018, 10:54:12 AM »
Right:  Moses' mandates,   Keats's poems (or Keats' poems), Dickens' (or Dickens's) novels,  those hunters' guns.

I would query the above.

Moses is a single not a plural noun so I'd always use Moses's - likewise Dickens's, Steve Jobs's, chorus's and Duchess's.
If it was a plural then jobs' as in 'He discovered both jobs' specifications were incorrect, choruses' and Duchesses' would apply in my experience.

Having said that, I see some publications use Dickens' books so it might come down to house style.

H3K

Offline heartsongjt

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Re: The Apostrophe
« Reply #2 on: November 16, 2018, 01:24:14 PM »
I would query the above.

Moses is a single not a plural noun so I'd always use Moses's - likewise Dickens's, Steve Jobs's, chorus's and Duchess's.
If it was a plural then jobs' as in 'He discovered both jobs' specifications were incorrect, choruses' and Duchesses' would apply in my experience.

Having said that, I see some publications use Dickens' books so it might come down to house style.

H3K


 Moses, Dickens, Steve Jobs, and Duchess are single proper nouns(Proper nouns begin with a capital letter) - chorus is a  single noun.  H3W Thank you for your post. Now I know what "house style" means.         jt

When it comes to forming the possessive of a proper name that ends in s, guides disagree.

Some stylebooks recommend a single apostrophe for Biblical or classical names like Jesus and Achilles, but ’s for names like James and Charles; others say, “Treat all names ending in s the same.”

The Chicago Manual of Style once recommended a single apostrophe to form the possessive of Biblical or classical names:
 Moses’ tent
 Achilles’ helmet
 Jesus’ name

Some guides still recommend this usage, but CMOS has changed its policy in a spirit of consistency; now it recommends that all proper names ending in -s form their possessive by adding ’s:

Moses’s tent
 Achilles’s helmet
 Jesus’s name
 Travis’s friends
 Dickens’s novels
 
Equally consistent, the Associated Press Style Book opts for a single apostrophe for all proper names ending in -s:

 Moses’ tent
 Achilles’ helmet
 Jesus’ name
 Travis’ friends
 Dickens’ novels
 
The New York Times style manual generally agrees with CMOS, but adds this wrinkle:

Omit the s after the apostrophe when a word ends in two sibilant sounds…separated only by a vowel sound: Kansas’ Governor; Texas’ population; Moses’ behalf… But when a name ends with a sibilant letter that is silent, keep the possessive s: Arkansas’s…

Disagreement on the issue of apostrophe s vs. plain apostrophe goes all the way to the Supreme Court. Justice Clarence Thomas believes that the possessive form of a name like his should be formed by adding only an apostrophe: “Justice Thomas’ opinion.” Referring to the case Kansas v. Marsh (2006), Thomas wrote “Kansas’ statute,” but his colleague Justice Souter wrote “Kansas’s statute.”

If you write for publication, how you treat the possessive of proper names that end in -s will be determined by your employer’s house style.
https://www.dailywritingtips.com/possessive-of-proper-names-ending-in-s/
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