I would tend to treat a company name as singular and would therefore write the possessive form with 's. Now, my company refers to its international operations by placing the country name behind the company name; think: "Coca Cola USA" or "Coca Cola Germany". In these examples I would write, in similar fashion, "Coca Cola Germany's workers are happy". Unfortunately, we also operate in a number of countries that have plural names; think: Netherlands and Cayman Islands. What is the possessive form in these cases? Is it "Coca Cola Netherlands' workers are happy" or "Coca Cola Netherlands's workers are happy"? I nudge towards the latter being grammatically correct, however reckon the former to be more generally accepted — or easier on the eye. I'm not a native English speaker, so I am not always entirely capable of assessing what is "accepted" or "sounds right".

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    We have a blog post on possessives that covers plurals! Commented Dec 13, 2012 at 9:39
  • In practice, corporate names associated with countries, just add the country after the name. IBM France, Toyota UK. The possessive is not used in these case. Why exactly do you need a possessive? IBM France's revenue was up 10% over 2019. BUT we see: The revenue of IBM France was up 10% in 2019. So, no possessive is even needed. Why do you even think you need a possessive?
    – Lambie
    Commented Oct 6, 2021 at 19:23

2 Answers 2


This is an area where English usage is very unsettled.

Generally when a proper name ends in s and looks like a plural, it’s at least acceptable to use just the apostrophe without an additional sNetherlands’s definitely looks odd to me. Since Netherlands is an originally plural word treated as a singular, there’s an especially strong case for not adding the apostrophe-s.

Similarly, I’d say “Lever Brothers’ workers” when talking about the soap company rather than “Lever Brothers’s workers”, even though we'd say “Lever Brothers is” in the US.

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    I (in the U.S.) would never say "Lever Brotherziz" but "Lever Brotherz". Similarly, I'd say "Netherlands", and not add an "iz". So both the pronunciation and the spelling are unsettled (this is understandable, since many people recommend matching the spelling to the pronunciation). Commented Dec 13, 2012 at 12:21
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    @PeterShor I’m with you, Peter, but I have been told on more than one occasion that in the UK there are rustics who use multiple endings, so we hear about over as the Farmerziz house where the Farmer family lives. It sounds off to me, but maybe that is what Gollum’s speech sought to emulate.
    – tchrist
    Commented Dec 13, 2012 at 12:30
  • Lloyds is the bank; Lloyd's is the insurance concern. I wonder if we should call the underwriters at the latter Lloyd's's underwriters. Commented Dec 13, 2012 at 18:04
  • Multiple endings Netherlands's are acceptable but not RP, not really standard, and certainly not U.
    – Ben
    Commented Oct 6, 2021 at 18:36

As a question of actual practice, it depends how it is pronounced.

  • If it adds a pronounced s or z, then write it as ~s's

    You have a boss, and he has a car. It is:

    Your boss's car

  • If the the possessive doesn't add a pronounced s or z, then write it as ~s'

    You have several bosses, and they share a company car. It is:

    Your bosses' car

These are pronounced the same; i.e. bossez car. But there are variants.

Your bosses's car

Would be acceptable, but rarer. (Pronounced bossezez)

Another example.

In England, Charles is both a first name, and a family name.

  • Charles's coat belongs to Charles.
  • The Charleses are a family with the surname Charles.
  • The Charleses' house is where they live

These are all pronounced the same; i.e. Charlsez.

But there are regional and class variants.

  • The Charleses's house is also where they live (pronounced Charlsezez)
  • The Charles' house is also acceptable.

These are unusual but acceptable variants.

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