1. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Possessive of nouns ending in S

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Steerpike, Sep 30, 2016.

    I edited a document for someone else at work, and I used s' to indicate the possessive of a noun ending in "s." For example:

    I took Chris' dog for a walk.

    The other person changed these occurrences by adding an additional "s." For example:

    I took Chris's dog for a walk.

    The second version looks like a mistake to me (or at least is contrary to what I was always taught). I've changed them all back, but I thought I'd get input here as well.
     
  2. izzybot
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    izzybot Human Disaster Contributor

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    The way I was taught, both are valid. Some cursory poking around online seems to agree.
     
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  3. hawls
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    hawls Active Member

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    The other person wanted to feel important.
     
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  4. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Apparently adding the extra 's' to a person's name (or the name of an organisation, etc—a proper noun, as opposed to an ordinary noun) is perfectly okay—although the other way is also technically correct.

    In fact, the extra 's' often makes things much clearer. And if you think about it, it's the way we speak as well. If we were referring to a hat belonging to Chris, we wouldn't say "Chris hat" would we? We'd say "Chris-es hat."

    Interestingly, though, that never applies when the 's-ending' word is plural and not somebody's name. You wouldn't say 'the horses-es pasture,' or the 'cats-es blankets.' However, we do say 'Have you seen the Jones-es new barbeque? We must keep up with them.'

    Mind you, the singular of Jones isn't Jone.... What if the last name was Burton? Would you say 'the Burtons' new barbecue?' Or 'the Burtons-es new barbecue?'

    aargh. English. (Welsh.) What have you....o_O
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2016
  5. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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  6. SethLoki
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    SethLoki Unemployed Autodidact Contributor

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    Being pos'ses'sive I'd say :p

    I think it's what you're familiar with I'm a 's person (it's James's way). @jannert's explanation and thankfully validation about it making things more phonetically (?) legible chimes with me.
     
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  7. PGWhyte
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    PGWhyte Member Supporter

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    Made me think of 'Bagginses' and 'Hobbitses' :D
     
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  8. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Yes, it does, doesn't it? :-D

    Now here's the question. Does Gollum's use of the royal 'We' (we hates it, we hates it) make you think of the Queen of England? Or—excuse me, I'm new to this—stand back....ahem...:

    "Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and of Her other Realms and Territories Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith".
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2016
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  9. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Thanks, all. I suppose I can leave the other person's usage alone. That second "s" is never going to stop looking strange to me, though :)
     
  10. SethLoki
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    SethLoki Unemployed Autodidact Contributor

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    Now that's (sort of) cleared up; in my post should I have typed

    an 's
    or
    a 's

    ?
     
  11. NiallRoach
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    NiallRoach Contributing Member

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    I, personally, do tend to drop that second "-es" in speech, if it comes up.
    I will admit, though, that when dealing with a Latvian name, an awful lot of which end in -s, I'll drop that an an ending in the genitive. "Rūdolfs is here already," but "That's Piotr's ball."
    /grammatical aside
     
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