So I had to look up my usage of apostrophies.

All time time, I have been doing the following, and had to know if it was right:

Possessive Singular:
I borrowed Tev’s CDs.

Possessive Plural:
I borrowed the dogs’ dishes.

Possessive Singlar ending in s:
I borrowed Moses’ CDs.

The first two examples I was sure about, the last one I questioned, having seen some people use ‘s even after a name ending in s.

According to the Apostrophe Protection Society, the correct usage would be “Moses’s CDs.”
So my usage has been wrong.

The American Heritage Book of English Usage has this to say:
“The possessive case of most proper nouns is formed according to the rules for common nouns: (singular) … Yeats’s poetry”
Which also sounds like I was wrong, but did you catch the “most” in that sentence? They go on to say:
“…however, certain proper nouns ending in s form the possesive just by adding the apostrophe…” and gives this example: “Moses’ children”. So it sounds like, for Moses at least, I have been right (but wrong if I said Chris’ CDs).

3 thoughts on “Apostrophization”

  1. Hmm. I’m wondering if it has anything to do with the spelling/sound of the ending. For instance, “Yeats” ends with “ts” and so has the /s/ sound at the end. Whereas “Moses” ends in “es” so it has the /z/ sound at the end. So by adding the apostrophe s, you get “Mo-zez-ez” as opposed to “yeets-es.”

    1. That may be the case, but the actual reason given for the “Moses” example is because it’s a biblical name. Apparently if you’re Jesus or Moses, you’re above the law. =)

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