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I'm looking at the financial definition of series: a group of stocks or options that have common characteristics. Source

How would I form the possessive and plural of this term? I'm guessing it is series' and series respectively.

Sample sentences, not sure of correctness:

He purchased one series.

He purchased multiple series.

This one series' characteristics are worth researching. <- This feels like it should be series's, but it looks so wrong.

These series' value is unmatched.

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2 Answers 2

up vote 10 down vote accepted

All correct but the last one.

If you are talking about one series:

This series' value is unmatched

If you are talking about multiple series:

These series' values are unmatched.

If you are talking about multiple series valued together:

The value of these series' is unmatched.

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I'm pretty sure that ''These series' value is unmatched'' is valid, if a little unwieldy. –  HorusKol Jan 26 '11 at 22:15
Thanks! I was more concerned with the "series'" rather than "values is/are" but thanks for pointing that out too. –  Marcin Jan 27 '11 at 16:16
I missed an apostrophe in the last example, fixed. It should be there because it's plural. –  user3444 Jan 27 '11 at 16:17

I think I agree with HorusKol. It's not wrong to say These series' value is unmatched, just awkward.

Think of similar examples with other nouns whose plurals are identical to their singular forms:

This sheep's fleece is white

These sheep's fleeces are black

These sheep's field is enormous

You may choose to construct a periphrasis to avoid confusion (especially if the line is to be spoken rather than read), but it's not incorrect to use a concise form from which the context makes the meaning plain.

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+1 particularly for 'choosing to avoid confusion', which is surely the aim. –  CJM Jan 26 '11 at 23:21
Isn't it rather rare for a word whose singular and plural forms are the same, to also end in an 's'? I can think of a few where singular ends in 's' but plural is completely different, such as "octopus". Yet I can't think of any other than this definition of "series" that don't change form when pluralized. –  Marcin Jan 27 '11 at 16:20
facies and species are two others that spring to mind, although I can't think of any that aren't direct borrowings from Latin like these three. –  gpr Jan 27 '11 at 22:27

protected by tchrist Feb 21 at 23:58

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