Garner's fourth edition, page 714, states regarding the name McDonald’s

It is quite defensible to write McDonald’s dinner combos (the name functioning as a kind of possessive)

On what grounds can a business name which is made with a possessive function as a (kind of) possessive?

Secondly, is the same true for a business name created with a plural noun, therefore ending in -s'? (I am not a native speaker, and unfortunately cannot come up with an example right now)

  • whatever looks less cluttered is the way to go. punctuation is a style issue. Commented Dec 11, 2019 at 4:32

1 Answer 1


If the possessive is a part of the business name, it doesn't make sense to reduplicate the possessive:

(x) McDonald's's dinner combos

(x) McDonald's' dinner combos

McDonald's dinner combos

Furthermore, eliminating the possessive would misconstrue the name of the business:

(x) McDonald dinner combos

(x) McDonalds dinner combos

In other words, since the business name already takes the form of a possessive, the default name and the possessive have the same form. Whether it's read as a possessive or as an attributive noun (a noun that modifies another noun), "McDonald's dinner combos" makes sense.

Incidentally, Garner uses these terms (including referring to the attributive usage) in a blog post on the subject:

... the best solution is to rephrase {the french fries at McDonald’s [not McDonald’s’s french fries]} {the closing hours for T.G.I. Friday’s [not T.G.I. Friday’s’s closing hours]}. But it’s also defensible to write the McDonald’s french fries (with the name functioning attributively)—and perhaps even McDonald’s french fries (though this is strictly illogical).

I don't know of any businesses that employ a plural possessive in their name. If they did, however, the answer would be the same: use the form of the name whether it is treated as a noun, an attributive, or a possessive.

  • The company was founded by Samuel B. Thomas, so the business name is NOT created with a plural noun. Yet, assuming such a family name of a business, say Xs, the form it'd take is Xs'. Now, how woud the possessive marker be added to it? Or even added to its plural (or similarly the plural of Thomas', which I do not know how to form, so I'd appreciate an explanation too)
    – GJC
    Commented Dec 10, 2019 at 21:08
  • If you can find a company with a plural possessive, let me know. Commented Dec 10, 2019 at 21:53

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