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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?

Eg.

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

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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
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    @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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