I am writing a letter to some family members and it is a thank you to a whole family. Would it be written as Dear Smiths,? Do I need an apostrophe, so it is Dear Smith's? What if it ends in an s like the surname 'Stokes'? Do you write Dear Stokes' or simply Dear Stokes, because Dear Stokeses seems wrong? Thank you very much.

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    Apostrophes are never used for pluralization. They’re used for contractions or possession (because that started out as a contraction). I’d go with Dear Smith family, or, if you are only considering the options you explicitly mentioned, Dear Smiths. – Dan Bron Jul 11 '20 at 10:42
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    Keeping up with the Joneses is an established expression, so Stokeses isn't 'wrong', but I can understand your not liking it. You might prefer Dear Stokes family. – Kate Bunting Jul 11 '20 at 10:46
  • The rule most (though not all) competent Anglophones hold to is 'if you pronounce the plural of Jones using two syllables, indicate that using Joneses in writing. but if you use one syllable (equally acceptable), use the invariant plural Jones. However, Dear Stokeses does look rather odd (though they're probably more used to it than you are), and Orwell advises us to avoid strange expressions unless we're aiming for a comic effect (Bertie Wooster would no doubt feel totally at home with '[Dear] Stokeses all, What ho!' I'd use Kate's suggestion. – Edwin Ashworth Jul 11 '20 at 11:32
  • Thank you all very much. – Thomas Stokes Jul 11 '20 at 13:55

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