How would one combine the sigular and plural possessive forms of contractor into one form? Like for example contractor’(s’).

A friend of mine is busy editing a fairly technical document and arrived at an interesting dilemma. We were confused over how to use the ’s possessive in a sentence regarding contractor liability.

The sentence had to cover not only the singular contractor and the plural contractors, but also the possessive form, like contractor’s and contractors’ both.

How do you do that? Or would one rather use the plural and imply that the singular in included in the meaning?

  • 1
    It's contractor(s)' -- naturally. The apostrophe comes much later, the noun in its complete form comes first. On a different note: I'd use the of form rather than the apostrophe-s alternative for the possessive here; why make things so complex?
    – Kris
    Commented Jul 30, 2015 at 13:09
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    Kris i showed the answers to my friend and she immediately realised the "of" form was the way to go. I personally would have gone with Kim's singular entity form, but then again I'm not an editor (nor is English my first language). Thank you for your answers. Commented Jul 30, 2015 at 13:23
  • I recall that many legal cotracts start with a definition of terms such as The cotractror refers to Mr A, Ms B etc, so it's defining the single entity up front.
    – Kim Ryan
    Commented Jul 30, 2015 at 23:22

1 Answer 1


I would intepret contractor to be a person, or persons, or a company of people. So you can treat it as a singular entity, and contactor's is the only possisve form of abbreviation. There must be many legal documents that would confirm this usage.

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