English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Example of what I mean:

If I have more than one google I have googles, if Google has goggles the goggles are Google's. When Google's down, people get upset.

But if Google's Google's best friend, then this sentence becomes a little confusing.

Is there an elegant solution for this seemingly messy usage of apostrophe's and 's''s?

share|improve this question
Sure. Talk, don't write. Apostrophe's are inaudible, are'nt they? – John Lawler Feb 24 '14 at 0:19

There is no scenario where you have to use "Google's" to mean "Google is" so you can always rewrite the sentence to say "Google is Google's best friend" to avoid the confusion. You can also always rephrase the possessive to clear up ambiguity although it may make your writing sound clunky: "Google is the best friend of Google."

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.