5 thoughts on “Apostrophe s

  1. Matt says:

    Oh, goodness, yes. It still amazes me, even though I should have become accustomed to it long

    ago, how often apostrophe-s is misused, even by educated professionals. A couple of years ago,

    I saw what remains one of my favorites: some company’s truck with the slogan “QUALITY AT IT’S

    BEST” emblazoned on the side. 🙁

  2. Mags says:

    This is one of my pet hates!

    The mis-use of the apostrophe is getting worse and worse! Sometimes it would appear that

    people just put it in whenever there is an S at the end of a word. For example, “ice cream’s

    sold here”, salad’s, shoe’s, etc, etc, In some ways, I blame the computer (marvellous though

    it is), as it does not always recognise the proper use of the apostrophe. I doesn’t like

    “its” and wants to put in “it’s” everytime!
    Yep, I could rant about this all day….., but

    I won’t!

  3. Don DuBois says:


    What about the

    possesive case where the noun ends in an s such as
    “Davis’ toys” where Davis is one person?

    That appears to be an
    exception to the rule that only a plural possesive ends in s


    Then there is the situation which involves a proper name that ends in s such

    as the Cleveland Browns [football team]. Does one write
    “the Browns’ ranking” or, is it

    ever correct to write “the Browns’s ranking”?

    Is there ever a case where it’s OK to

    have a noun ending in s apostrophe s (… s’s) ?


    P.S. Re your husbanb’s

    recent computer malfunctions etc. , does the Bermuda Triangle’s effects extend down to Costa

    Rica? Or has
    April 1st come late to that part of the world and you’re having a little

    fun with us? I remember when you had me believing you a few years ago on April 1st that the

    Academie Francaise had redefined some aspects of the French language to make it easier to learn

    by foreigners. 🙂

  4. Those are good questions, Don. I’ll get back to you. (I admit that I’m tempted to write

    Davis’s, but that can’t be right.)

    Nope, no April foolery here – the computer has

    something to say, but we just can’t crack the code.

  5. Don DuBois says:

    The Elements of Style (Strunk)

    says this about singlular possesive nouns
    (pg. 1):

    Form the possessive singular of

    nouns by adding ‘s.

    Follow this rule whatever the final consonant. Thus


    Charles’s friend
    Burns’s poems.
    the witch’s malice

    Exceptions are

    the possessives of ancient proper names in -es and -is,
    the possessive Jesus’, and such

    forms as for conscience’ sake, for righteousness’ sake. But such forms as Moses’ laws,

    Isis’ temple are commonly replaced by

    the laws of Moses
    the emple of Isis


    pronominal possessives hers, its, theirs, yours and ours have no
    apostrophe. Indefinite

    pronouns, however, use the apostrophe to show

    one’s rights

    else’s umbrella

    A common error is to write it’s for its, or vice versa. The first is

    a contraction, meaning “it is”. The second is a possessive.

    It’s a wise dog that

    scratches its own fleas.


    Unfortunately, Strunk, as far as I can

    tell, does not address the case where the noun refers to a multiplicity of persons, things


    Example: the Burns’s family home

    OR, is it

    the Burns’ family



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