I'm struggling to understand whether or not I can exclude the in front of Countess' Suffering/Pain? This is meant to be a title, as in a book title (but not necessarily that), and I was wondering if it's still proper English not to have it here? I'm not referring to a particular countess.

I know you normally say The Countess' Suffering but is Countess' Suffering still considered correct? It does sound rather unnatural to me.

  • If you're not referring to a particular countess, or to a particular dress, what are you referring to? A class of dresses called Countess's Dresses? I don't think such a thing exists. We really can't answer you without knowing more of the particulars. – Peter Shor May 9 '18 at 14:29
  • @PeterShor I'm not exactly sure how to put it. I don't refer to any particular countess or dress. To be honest, Countess' Dress is the first such example that came to my mind. It could be Countess' Sufferings or Countess' Emotions. I know that, for example, The Countess' Emotions is correct (with 'the' in front of the noun). What about Countess' Emotions? Does it mean anything? Does it mean the same thing as The Countess' Emotions? Would it look unnatural to a native English speaker? – Duchess88 May 9 '18 at 14:38
  • If there were a class of dresses called Countess's Dresses, I think you could leave off the title. Compare the titles Ghost Story, Baker's Dozen, and Boy's Club. But there's not, so I don't have any idea what Countess's Dress would mean. – Peter Shor May 9 '18 at 14:38
  • @PeterShor Let's forget about 'dress' and focus on 'suffering' or 'emotions' instead. Countess' Emotions -- would this be considered correct, or would the meaning of it be understandable? – Duchess88 May 9 '18 at 14:44
  • Pluralizing countess' (=countesses') might make it clearer that you have no particular countess in mind and that you're just trying to title a discussion of emotions that any/all countess/es might feel (if that's what you're after), in which case including "the" would not only be unnecessary, but maybe even wrong (cf: "noblewomen's rights/duties"). If you insist on leaving it singular, however, I think you'd need at least an indefinite article, i.e., "A Countess'[s] Emotions/whatever," which would perhaps be more consistent with the fact that you have no particular countess in mind. – Papa Poule May 9 '18 at 16:50

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.