How do you make the last name Woods plural possessive? example: a friend of the Woods (2 people) I assume it is Woodses, but have been "corrected" by someone.

  • We have a blog on this. – Cascabel Jan 18 '19 at 18:04
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    If you pronounce the plural as Woodses, use Woodses'; if you pronounce it as Woods, use Woods'. There's no special rule that would ever permit Wood's or Woodse's. – choster Jan 18 '19 at 19:36
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    @Cascabel The blog is good, but the sense of dizziness grows with the number of esses. I have never known anyone that does not at least do a double-take right up to grasses’. Already, the ‘rules’ of punctuation are no more than conventions, which exist to clarify. They are applied inconsistently - notoriously so in the case of ‘it’s’ (‘it is’) versus ‘its’ (‘of it), stripped of its apostrophe to avoid confusion! There is (or should be) a rule of consideration that when it gets peculiar, just use ‘of the woods’ or whatever. – Tuffy Jan 18 '19 at 19:38
  • You can just add a possessive s to give Woods's or you can pluralise Woods as Woodses then add the posessive s giving Woodses's. But I wouldn't unless you also knew some people called Wood with whom they could be confused. Also the usual convention is to leave the posessive s silent when speaking names which end in s to avoid the s s sound. Having said that the Royal Court of the Sovreign of the Unted Kingdom is The Court of St James's and the possessive s is pronounced when that is read out. – BoldBen Jan 19 '19 at 4:00


As in, "The Woodses' friend," a phrase which is excruciating to say aloud.

There does seem to be a fair amount of confusion on the subject, but it seems like the "rules" are fairly straightforward. The general idea is that names follow the same patterns (of pluralization and possession) as any other noun, with the exception that names ending in y are not made plural with ies (i.e. Kennedys, not Kennedies).

Here's what Merriam-Webster says about it:

The plurals of last names are just like the plurals of most nouns. They typically get formed by adding -s. Except, that is, if the name already ends in s or z. Then the plural is formed by adding -es...If you want to talk about something that belongs to more than one member of a family, you start with the plural form and add an apostrophe to show possession:

  • the Smiths' car
  • a party at the Fernandezes' house
  • the Daleys' driveway


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