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Words that are pluralized in the middle?

I've heard it pronounced both ways:

Sons-in-law

and

Son-in-laws

While one may be more technically correct than the other, are they both equally acceptable based on popular usage?

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marked as duplicate by kiamlaluno, Mitch, psmears, Dusty, Henry Jun 27 '11 at 23:46

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See also Plural of "daughter in law", which has been closed as duplicate of the first question I reported. –  kiamlaluno Jun 27 '11 at 19:08
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1 Answer 1

up vote 4 down vote accepted

"Sons-in-law" is proper. Think of the hyphenated suffix "-in-law" as an adjective, which was its original purpose. It would be equivalent to "partners in crime".

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Note that the -possessive- does follow the somewhat illogical 'add the 's' to the very end", e.g. "son-in-law's". –  Mitch Feb 21 '12 at 17:57
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