1. cutecat22
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    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    Apostrophe s

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by cutecat22, Oct 30, 2015.

    I'm sure I've asked this before but I just can't find the answer.

    It's to do with showing possession when using names that end in s.

    So for Chris, would you type Chris's hat, or Chris' hat. ?

    Because for some reason, I type possessive Chris as Chris'

    But then I type possessive boss, as boss's.

    Strangely, my narrator reads Chris' as Chris but reads boss's as boss's.

    So now I'm wondering if I should actually be putting the s after the apostrophe when dealing with possession for characters whose names end in s ...
     
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2015
  2. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    It's a style choice - no right or wrong. Do whatever you prefer. :D

    I'd probably lean to s's because then it reads more phonetically, but when I think about it I tend to just use s'.
     
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  3. Bookster
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    Bookster Banned

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    I would say Chris's, but I would always write Chris'.
     
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  4. Lew
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    Lew Contributing Member Contributor

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    English 101:

    its : belongs to "it"
    it 's : it is
    Lew's: belongs to Lew
    Chris': belongs to Chris:
    boats: many boats
    boats': belonging to many boats.


    And I am an engineer!
     
  5. cutecat22
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    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    I get all that, @Lew but the fact that with an s ending name, you have the choice (it's not a 'rule') and the fact that my narrator only narrates the possession if the 's is there even with a name ending in s, had me wondering if I'd actually been doing it wrong ...
     
  6. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    Both are correct. Just make sure to be consistent throughout the manuscript.
     
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  7. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    I'd go with "Chris'." 1) that's what I see most often; and 2) even if it is a stylistic choice, a lot of people seem to think "Chris's" is a mistake. So if you use the latter at least a certain percentage of people will think you don't know what you're doing, but with the former I don't know that anyone thinks it is wrong.
     
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  8. lostinwebspace
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    lostinwebspace Active Member

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    What do guides like the Chicago Manual of Style and such say? IIRC there were a few rules and sub-rules. I like writer's choice, though, as some have said.
     
  9. Lew
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    Lew Contributing Member Contributor

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    Sorry, my Catholic nuns who taught me English 60 years ago would beat you mercilessly with rulers for using Chris's. If someone thinks that is correct, please cite reference.
     
  10. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    The Bristol University's grammar website has this to say about apostrophes and proper nouns. http://www.bristol.ac.uk/arts/exercises/grammar/grammar_tutorial/page_10.htm Apparently both usages are correct in most cases:

    If the possessor is a singular noun that happens to end in an -s, there is some debate about whether the apostrophe is simply added after the -s or whether an -'s is needed.


    It appears that both are acceptable. Whichever you decide to use, make sure you are consistent. The university English department's style guide recommends that proper nouns that end in -s form their possessive form by adding -'s.


    Have you seen James' book?


    Have you seen James's book?



    The exceptions to this rule are proper nouns that are Latin or Greek in origin.


    Odysseus' adventures spanned many miles and many many years.


    Pythagoras' theorem has baffled generations of school children.


    ..................

    Personally, I always use the 's ending. It always looks better and is closer to what we actually say in speech. We don't say "James book" or "Chris book" when we mean "James's book" or "Chris's book" do we?
     
  11. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    The CMoS accepts both, though they prefer "apostrophe + s" over just an apostrophe. It's a stylistic choice.
     
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  12. cutecat22
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    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    Word doesn't flag it as wrong. And the narrator reads it correctly.

    My mind thinks it's wrong, but nothing was backing up my mind!

    It's like the old, you know, you see a word so often, you start questioning whether it's actually correct.
     
  13. OurJud
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    OurJud Contributing Member Contributor

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    My understanding is that if the possessing word already ends in an 'S' (or is a plural), the apostrophe is stuck on the end (no double 's')
     
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  14. cutecat22
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    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    I got that bit about plurals when I was researching nurses' station, as in, station belonging to many nurses, not one nurse.

    But it seems either is appropriate for possession when it's one person with a name/title ending in s.
     
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  15. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    When making a choice like this, I sometimes decide based on the ease of search-and-replace if I need to change my choice--for example, if whoever I'm submitting to has a style book that tells me which one to use.

    A mass-replace of 's with s' won't work, because many 's should remain 's.

    A mass-replace of s' with 's should work. And even if you decide to do the search-and-replace by inspecting them one by one through the manuscript, there probably won't be too many of them.
     
  16. cutecat22
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    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    That's true. Most of them will just be to do with Chris, so doing a search for Chris, will bring them all up and allow me to look at each one.

    Then I'll do another check when I edit.
     

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