When we write difficult surnames, e.g. Novak Djokovic, is it neccessary to use 's in the genitive case? Is it correct to write Novak Djokovic match-ball, or we must write Novak Djokovic's match-ball (that is difficult to pronounce)?

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    Why is it so difficult to pronounce? If you can say "itches", can't you say "Djokovic's"? – Peter Shor Aug 6 '14 at 20:05
  • I don't know, sometimes they don't write's – HON Aug 6 '14 at 20:17
  • e.g. "It was a decent match," Murray said of the Djokovic match. (BBC). It seems difficult to pronounce to me but that's not my mother tongue. – HON Aug 6 '14 at 20:19
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    "The X match" has nothing to do with how difficult the surname is. You will find it used with any name at all. And not with just matches, either. – RegDwigнt Aug 6 '14 at 20:21
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    @HON Just because nobody has clearly stated it before in the comments here: the Ðoković match and the Obama campaign do not contain possessives at all. The construction here uses noun adjuncts instead, which are semantically very similar to, but grammatically entirely different from, possessives. The fact that these are last names is irrelevant: the tennis match and the election campaign use regular nouns in the same way. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Aug 8 '14 at 7:13

The grammatically correct form would be "Novak Djokovic's match ball." I suppose that the "'s" could potentially be omitted in an effort to save time/space. The only real irregularity that I know of when it comes to the English genitive case is when the word ends in an "s," in which case you can either use the "'s" or just the apostrophe (both are now considered correct- just the apostrophe is almost considered a little old-fashioned though)

  • Does the word (spelling) have to end in an s, or does the pronunciation have to end in an s? Because Djokovic fits the latter, not the first. – oerkelens Nov 6 '14 at 8:49
  • @oerkelens: it actually ends in a "ch". See this video. – Peter Shor Dec 6 '14 at 11:58

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