Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Possible Duplicate:
What is the pronunciation of the possessive words that already end in s?

“The Weasley twins’ friend, Lee Jordan, was doing the commentary for the match.”

Do native English speakers pronounce twins and twins’ the same way? Or do they get said as /twɪnziz/ or /twɪnzəz/, and is this just an informal pronunciation?

share|improve this question

marked as duplicate by mplungjan, MετάEd, Robusto, jwpat7, Mitch Jan 8 '13 at 15:54

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.

1 Answer 1

up vote 1 down vote accepted

The apostrophe is not a letter. It is not pronounced. It is always silent. It cannot change a word’s pronunciation by its presence or absence.

Therefore the twins I know and the twins’ mother will pronounce the “twins” part of it in there exactly the same way.

The idea of twins’ having some sort of a /ˈtwɪnzəz/ pronunciation is not just that it is informal; it is not. It is wrong.

The word that would be pronounced that way would have to be something like twinses, which does not to my knowledge exist. But if it did, then adding an apostrophe to make it possessive via twinses’ would still leave it pronounced the same way. Apostrophes do not change a word’s pronunciation.

share|improve this answer
    
The apostrophe can, however, be used to mark a difference in pronunciation: do's as opposed to DOS; I'll as opposed to ill; can't as opposed to cant. It can also signal the pronunciation of a letter one might consider to be elided: ex's. –  Edwin Ashworth Jan 8 '13 at 13:59
2  
In American English can't is identical to cant. And the pronunciation marker use of l'apostrophe is vanishingly small. –  John Lawler Jan 8 '13 at 14:46
    
-1 just for "Apostrophes do not change a word’s pronunciation." Not commenting on "not just that it is informal; it is not. It is wrong" as yet. –  Kris Jan 14 '13 at 5:41

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