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Do I need an apostrophe in "These trees’ roots"?

For example,

"Wow!!! These trees' roots are so long!"

In this example the speaker can see both roots and the trees themselves.

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So there are multiple trees, and you're referring to all of their roots in general? –  simchona Sep 11 '11 at 22:48
    
I suggest you look at this question: it talks about when you need the apostrophe, and what it means. –  simchona Sep 11 '11 at 22:51
    
"So there are multiple trees, and you're referring to all of their roots in general?" - Yes –  brilliant Sep 11 '11 at 22:51
    
"I suggest you look at this question..." - Thanks, but there they are discussing the case when apostrophe is added to a person or persons (beginners), while in my case it's trees. I though it was a different case. –  brilliant Sep 11 '11 at 22:54
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I'm not sure I understand the question. Are you confused because "these" is an indication of possession already? Or are you unsure of where to position an apostrophe with a plural noun to indicate possession? –  KitFox Sep 11 '11 at 23:00
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2 Answers 2

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Yes, you need the apostrophe. -s' denotes possession of some thing or things by multiple owners. The roots belong to the trees; the trees own the roots. Therefore, the roots are the trees' roots.

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I see. Thank you. –  brilliant Sep 11 '11 at 23:16
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Yes, you need the apostrophe, and you need it right where it is: make sure that the apostrophe is after the "s", not before.

-s' is the possessive ending for plural nouns (e.g. trees becomes trees'), while -'s is the possessive ending for singular nouns (e.g. tree becomes tree's).

Hence, The roots of these trees becomes These trees' roots.

And The roots of this tree becomes This tree's roots.

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Or, of course, These tree roots for both cases. –  TimLymington Oct 18 '11 at 13:50
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