1. svens101

    svens101 New Member

    Feb 13, 2013
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    Advanced apostrophes

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by svens101, Feb 13, 2013.

    I am curious about how to punctuate the following sentence and currently have the following:

    This was one of my roommates's favorite dish.

    I have three roommates. I make weekly meals for them. One of my roommates told me that the Chicken Piccata I made was his favorite dish of them all. So far I have ruled out:
    This was one of my roommates' favorite dishes.
    This was one of my roommate's favorite dishes.

    I am open to (and curious about):
    This was one of my roommates' favorite dish.

    Essentially, it comes down to this main question: Is "roommates" to be treated as a plural, requiring an apostrophe after the existing "s," or does its link to the phrase "one of my roommates" make it part of a singular term, therefore requiring an additional " 's ?"

    Finally, I should mention that I am well aware that I can say "One of my roommates considered this his favorite dish." However, I am now extremely curious about the use of an apostrophe!

    Any insight, especially those with references/links, would be sincerely appreciated!
  2. mammamaia

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Nov 21, 2006
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    Coquille, Oregon
    is what i would okay as an editor on a grammatical basis, but it's not good writing, so i would strongly recommend rewording the sentence...

    'one of my roommates' is a compound noun that = 'a person'... so it's treated the same way a single-word noun would be... thus, the apostrophe after the 's' makes it a possessive, the same way as it would for 'Jim's'...

    'dishes' changes the meaning to make the dish one of several favorite dishes, no longer the one favorite among several dishes...

    fyi, that 's's' ending of yours is completely wrong...

    hope this helps and doesn't confuse you even further...

    love and hugs, maia
  3. minstrel

    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

    Jul 11, 2010
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    Near Los Angeles
    Mammamaia is right. I checked Fowler's Modern English Usage, and it agrees.

    She is also right, though, that the construction is clumsy and sounds funny when read aloud. Don't be afraid to rewrite a sentence to clean up problems like this. The fact that the sentence is technically correct does not mean its meaning is clear or that it reads smoothly. English is a marvelous language that provides many different ways to express the same thought. It's up to the writer to pick a good one.

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