My surname is Camus. Spoken by the French it is correctly pronounced "Camu" (loosing the "s"), but spoken by the English it is all too often pronounced "Camus" using the "s". This leads to a slight change in the way one might imply possession.

In all articles written on Albert Camus, I see "Camus's" used to illustrate possession, but here I wonder what is correct; if you are French you would choose the pronunciation /is/ over /izis/ (ie. "Camus'"), but if you were English, you would choose /isiz/ over /iz/ (ie. "Camus's").

Am I right to suggest that both of /isiz/ and /iz/ these are acceptable depending on the choice of pronunciation of the name itself? Or is there a "right way"?

  • 1
    In English, indeed, your name should be pronounced ca-MOO, because we don't have the exact sound that the "U" represents. After a final vowel, possessives are pronounced "z", so your name in possessive form, i.e. "Camus's" would be pronounced ca-MOOZ. Mar 23, 2016 at 18:06
  • 1
    I'd punt and say "Albert's"
    – JeffSahol
    Mar 23, 2016 at 18:19
  • I'm not sure how it could end with /isiz/; wouldn't the two alternatives be /kaˈmuːz/ and /kaˈmuːsɪz/? (French /y/ is generally interpreted as English /uː/.) Are you talking about a pronunciation with stress on the first syllable, like /ˈkæməs/ or /ˈkeɪməs/? In any case, it completely depends on how you pronounce it and what style you use for forming the possessives of words that end in "s."
    – herisson
    Mar 23, 2016 at 18:30
  • @sumelic I think you are right. With the above, I was pertaining only to the English versions of the pronunciations of which there are two; the French and the English. In which case, aren't the two options I gave initially the correct ones?
    – MoonKnight
    Mar 23, 2016 at 18:34
  • 2
    The answer to this prior question happens to to answer your present one directly.
    – PellMel
    Mar 23, 2016 at 20:30

2 Answers 2


Both "Camus'" and "Camus's" are acceptable.

Here's a good explanation: http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/possessives.htm


Some writers will say that the -s after Charles' is not necessary and that adding only the apostrophe (Charles' car) will suffice to show possession. Consistency is the key here: if you choose not to add the -s after a noun that already ends in s, do so consistently throughout your text. William Strunk's Elements of Style recommends adding the 's. (In fact, oddly enough, it's Rule Number One in Strunk's "Elementary Rules of Usage.") You will find that some nouns, especially proper nouns, especially when there are other -s and -z sounds involved, turn into clumsy beasts when you add another s: "That's old Mrs. Chambers's estate." In that case, you're better off with "Mrs. Chambers' estate."


I believe this is is a style issue. The Chicago Manual of Style has this to say:

7.17 Possessives of words and names ending in an unpronounced "s." In a return to Chicago's earlier practice, words and names ending in an unpronounced "s" form the possessive in the usual way (with the addition of an apostrophe and an s).

Albert Camus's novels

The marquis's mother

and so forth

  • Chicago also recommends the "usual way" for words ending in s even if the possessive s would not be spoken: Euripedes's tragedies, the Ganges's source (7.18)
    – Stu W
    Mar 24, 2016 at 2:49

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