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Possible Duplicate:
What is the correct possessive for nouns ending in s?

Before you vote to close as a duplicate, note that these two questions deal with similar issues to this, but none of them address all three criteria of this question:

  • The singular already ends with an s.
  • I am dealing with multiple of the thing.
  • I want the possessive of all of them in general.

The singular is class, and the plural is classes. The singular possessive is class's (as addressed here).

What is the plural possessive? Is it classes's, or classes'?

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marked as duplicate by Alenanno, kiamlaluno, simchona, Mitch, Hugo Oct 4 '11 at 10:03

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

    
I suspect there are few, if any, cases where of the classes would not be possible as a way of avoiding the successive sibilants of classes's. –  Barrie England Oct 3 '11 at 6:40
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It's not a dupe because of "boss" because "boss" is not plural. –  Peter Shor Oct 3 '11 at 11:23
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@PeterShor He could comment under JSBangs answer asking about the plural of boss. The difference is not enough to ask a different question, it can simply be asked under that answer as a comment. Anyway, the closing works with votes. If not enough people will agree with me, the question will stay open. –  Alenanno Oct 3 '11 at 11:44
    
@BarrieEngland The words classes's and dogs's are not correct possessives of plurals in English. To form the plural of a word that is pluralized by adding s, you simply add an apostrophe to the plural form. For regular English plurals, the plural, the possessive, and the possessive of the plural, are all pronounced exactly the same; for dog, these are dogs, dog's, and dogs', respectively. –  Peter Shor Oct 3 '11 at 12:30
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I suppose that if classes is no different to boss, then yes, that answer does address this question, but I wasn't sure if the fact that class has already had an es tacked on the end would change things at all. Either way, 9 people so far have found this question and one of its answers useful enough to upvote. –  Cam Jackson Oct 3 '11 at 22:34

2 Answers 2

up vote 9 down vote accepted

It is classes', which sounds the same as the singular class's.

I would have thought this was a general rule for plural nouns ending -s', -es' or -ies'.

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Exceptions are geese's, mice's, and lice's. –  Peter Shor Oct 3 '11 at 11:17
    
@Peter: geese, mice and lice do not end with s in the plural (nor do children or people). –  Henry Oct 3 '11 at 14:38
3  
They end with an 's' sound. If you want an exception that actually ends with an 's', bass (the fish) is one. Plural: bass. Plural possessive: bass's. It rhymes with classes. –  Peter Shor Oct 3 '11 at 15:13

Here's the rule: For plural nouns that end in S, only add the apostrophe. For singular nouns, add apostrophe-S.

This gives you the following. The class (singular noun): The class's project. The classes (plural noun): The classes' project.

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