While referring to interactions or conversations, does the apostrophe indicate joint possession or discrete possession?

For example, The cops analyzed Ron and Mary's interactions to find a clue.

Since Ron and Mary interacted with each other, should this be treated as joint possession? (Ron and Mary's)?

  • 1
    Whatever you call it, use one apostrophe. – Edwin Ashworth Jan 28 '18 at 23:06
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    I think it could be either, depending on the context – as4s4hetic Jan 28 '18 at 23:50
  • Would that also include Ron and Mary's interactions, as a couple, with Alice and Bob as a couple or with Colin as a single person? – BoldBen Jan 29 '18 at 7:44
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    If the interactions of both parties ie, Ron's interactions and Mary's interactions, were separately analysed, then you would say 'Ron's and Mary's interactions'. You would then end up with a list 'Ron's interactions' and another 'Mary's interactions'. If you analysed their interactions jointly, then you would say 'Ron and Mary's interactions' meaning 'all the interactions that they made together'. And you'd end up with one list 'Ron and Mary's interactions'. – Jelila Jan 29 '18 at 8:43
  • However, normally, I think one is fine, unless for example you wanted to differentiate, like: 'first Ron's and then Mary's interactions were analysed'. – Jelila Jan 29 '18 at 8:46

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