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In the following (poorly written?) sentence:

You improve your co-worker's luck and your business's.

I want to say that the luck of your business will also be improved... How do I say this? By putting an apostrophe after "business"? I'm trying not to repeat "luck".

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The possessive form of business is business’s. You cannot just put a lone apostrophe there, because that is not how it is pronounced. –  tchrist May 4 '13 at 19:32
    
@tchrist: Edited my question. The thing is: if I had used "business's" would the sentence be correct? –  John Assymptoth May 4 '13 at 20:20
    
Sure, it would have been fine. –  tchrist May 4 '13 at 20:27
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1 Answer

up vote 8 down vote accepted

In speech, I think I would say and your business's, pronounced -nisiz. In writing, I would change it to and that of your business.

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Why business's and not business' ? Is it because business is an irregular word? –  John Assymptoth May 4 '13 at 21:31
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@JohnAssymptoth No, it is completely regular. It’s because business’s is pronounced with an extra syllable compared with business alone. I don’t understand why this spelling mistake is so common. You only use a single apostrophe when there is no change in pronunciation when forming the possessive, like with this species’ strategy or those farmers’ fields. That’s why it is the class’s president, or perhaps just the class president, but never the *class’ president, which makes no sense. –  tchrist May 5 '13 at 3:50
    
@tchrist: I agree that this is the best rule and that it is often recommended by style books; but I think some people use or have used to use other rules as well. –  Cerberus May 5 '13 at 15:33
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