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".


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). – Peter Shor Dec 13 '12 at 12:21
  • @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 Dec 13 '12 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. – Edwin Ashworth Dec 13 '12 at 18:04

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