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To talk about something or someone, we usually give an apostrophe, like John's pen. If the word ends with s, we say Adams' pen . But what if we are talking of something that ends with an apostrophe s like Jack's (what we sometimes say in short for Jack's home, or Jack's kitchen etc.). How do I use an apostrophe for words like these? (For eg. If I want to say "Jack's house is closed" but I want to write Jack's instead of Jack's house , How do I manage the apostrophe?)

marked as duplicate by RegDwigнt Feb 4 '14 at 20:20

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  • This problem is more obvious with a company say that requires the apostrophe to be used. Thus > John used to work for Lloyds of London whereas Jill used to work for > Lloyd's Bank. > > ??Were Lloyds' staff more content overall than Lloyd's' staff? The Economist Style Guide advises: Try to avoid using Lloyd's (the insurance market) as a possessive; it poses an insoluble problem. – Edwin Ashworth Feb 4 '14 at 20:30
  • ...And Sean Palmer advises: [Another] problem [with apostrophe usage] is where company names are formed with an apostrophe-s. For example, Lloyd's. Therefore, the possessive of Lloyd's should be Lloyd's's... which is stylistically horrible. The general advice on the Lloyd's problem is to formulate it prepositonally: "the advice of Lloyd's". (I'm adding these because they're not included at the good discussion at the linked thread, and it makes a change to agree with a style guide.) – Edwin Ashworth Feb 4 '14 at 20:31

If you're asking about omitting the second "house" from, for example, "My house is open, but Jack's house is closed" then I'd simply omit it: "My house is open, but Jack's is closed."

If, on the other hand, you're asking about nested possessives, as in "My house's roof is brown but Jack's house's roof is gray", and you want to omit the second "house", then you have a problem. Logic dictates "Jack's's is gray" but I can't bring myself to imagine that this is acceptable. I'd advise rephrasing the whole thing to circumvent the problem.


Jack's is still the correct way of saying the house belongs to Jack, whether or not you use the word house after it.

"Have you ever been inside the house at 334 Elm Street?"

"Oh yeah, that's Jack's house."


"Which of those three houses is Jack's?"

"That's Jack's" (pointing to the Cape Cod with the tan shingles).

Two different ways of saying the same thing.


The punctuation usage of the possessive apostrophe have evolved according to the whims of the print media. In the USA : They only use an apostrophe if the word is 2 syllables or more: Thomas’ report, Rogers’ network. For 1 syllable words they add an apostrophe plus an “s” – Jones’s diary or Chris’s meeting.

In the UK : They add an apostrophe plus “s” to make all names possessive: Robert Francis’s book.

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