Hi assuming you have a name like Cross, Tess or Ross. What is the correct way of writing including the apostrophe assuming the owner is a singular entity?


Ross's apples Ross'es apples

marked as duplicate by tchrist, Matt E. Эллен, anongoodnurse, choster, MrHen Jan 21 '14 at 15:08

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  • You would never use "Ross'es". The apostrophe/apostrophe s shows possession, the es (in some cases) shows plural. There is no instance when 'es is correct. – nxx Jan 21 '14 at 0:32

I follow Strunk & White, so this is Andreas Blass's answer.


You only use s' when the noun you are making possessive is plural. It's not enough for the noun to simply end in s, or even in ss: in those cases, you need an apostrophe followed by another s. So:

Mr. Jones's house

the Joneses' house

Mr. Ross's apples

the Rosses' apples

  • To whom does the Jones' car belong? I have noticed that individual families with last names ending in -ss, -s, or -es develop their own usage patterns which I believe we should adopt on an individual basis. – Michael Owen Sartin Jan 20 '14 at 19:32
  • I have downmarked this because I believe you are too dogmatic. There is in practice considerable latitude allowed. As for the ones you mention, I would not expect to be criticised for writing them as follows: 'Mr Jones' house'; the Joneses' house; Mr Ross' apples; the Rosses' apples. – WS2 Jan 20 '14 at 20:59
  • @WS2 I would have thought that meant the belonging to the family with the name jones. The second example not correct and the last example meaning the apples belonging to a group of people named Ross (or Rosses) – Wes Jan 20 '14 at 22:24
  • @WS2 That would be wrong. When you talk about the apples of Mr Ross, you add a syllable: hence it must be Mr Ross’s apples. And apostrophe is not sounded, and does not stand in for your "iz" sound. You actually have to write it. – tchrist Jan 20 '14 at 22:44
  • 2
    @WS2 But when you and I were young, "keeping up with the Joneses" was a widely-used phrase, cisatlantically, and nearly as popular on your side – StoneyB Jan 21 '14 at 1:45

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