In a recent thread, it was recommended that Academies' Trust be written as I just have done:

Academies' Trust. Normal possessive apostrophe rules apply.

If I accept this traditional style, I might well end up writing something like:

Academies' Trusts include the Academies Enterprise Trust, the Leigh Academies Trust, the Aspirations Academies Trust, and The Kemnal Academies Trust.

Should consistency of style override traditional apostrophe rules in this case?

  • Depends on context, as it did in the "recent thread". What is the context of the first two words in your second quote? What do they actually refer to? What are the Trusts in question? – Andrew Leach Oct 10 '13 at 16:16
  • The capitalisation shows it is a proper name and hence a compound term. – Edwin Ashworth Oct 10 '13 at 16:19
  • 2
    Live dangerously. Join the revolution. Drop the apostrophe. – Barrie England Oct 10 '13 at 16:24
  • Hey, I prefer it for possessives-rather-than-attributives. The dogs' home is right opposite the dogs home. – Edwin Ashworth Oct 10 '13 at 16:30

These are proper nouns, so I'd see how each trust styles its name and follow that. From a quick online search, it looks to me like each one has dropped the apostrophe.

To answer the question directly, I'd say forget about consistency of style and traditional apostrophe rules in cases like this. Style a proper noun as its owner styles it--this shows respect for whoever is named, and it's standard practice among editors (at least in America). So if you're talking about Lloyd's of London and Lloyds Bank, style the one with the apostrophe and the other without.

  • Following the standard set by the individual/organization is always preferrable when dealing with proper nouns. – Zibbobz Oct 10 '13 at 17:56
  • Yes, but we're talking about usages other than those of organisations here in addition to those determined by those organisations. This isn't the case with say Lloyd's vs Lloyds. – Edwin Ashworth Oct 10 '13 at 18:43

As a person with an S at the end of their name, let me offer you my advice, using my own name James as an example.

For more than one instance of James, an "es" effectively pluralizes them without giving any hint of posessiveness, so you would put "Jameses" for a simple group of Jameses.

For posessive for a singular James, an "'s" works, though it's also acceptable to put the apostrope after the pre-existing "s". So "James's" or "James'" would both work, though I'd recommend being consistent if you are going to be writing it in text (Don't suddenly switch it up on the reader!)

For posessive plural...things get a bit hazier. My go-to solution is "Jameses'" to indicate both a plurality and a posessive.

In the case you've given, the way you've written it would be entirely understandable, thanks to the consistency with which you've referred to them. A plurality of academy groups in posession of the Trust.

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