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allan lehman

It's my impression that people (Americans, at least) seem to be baffled by the apostrophe. Here's an example: We were in Dairy Queen, and they had a freezer case with icecream cakes on display. In front of the cakes was a sign saying that Secretaries' Day was coming up, and that you should buy one of these cakes because "Secretary's love them". This wasn't just a posting that an employee scrawled on a piece of cardboard, but a manufactured sign; so, from conception to finished product it had to have gone through several hands (or rather brains).


My understanding with apostrophes, and I believe that some grammar book can back me up, is that in the case of a plural noun, like the three kittens' mittens, you do not add the extra 's.' But, in the case of a singular noun that happens to end in s, like James's favorite gum, or like your Bridget Jones example, you DO add the extra 's.' However, in a confusing combo case like "the Joneses' swimming pool," the 's' is absent because the Joneses are a plural, not singular entity in this case.

My favorite possessive conundrum is "Ruth's Chris Steakhouse" which is just a remarkably unwieldy and lisp-inducing name to me.


Wow, Irene, how do you remember that stuff? And I thought I was a grammar nerd! Of course I mean
this all as a compliment. It seems that I might
be at least partially wrong with the whole s's thing, although at the same time I totally agree with Allan that there is a lot of officially-
sanctioned bad grammar and punctuation happening
out there.

mike marzullo

On apostrophes...My son had a spelling test in school..He was given the word Childrens...They wanted the word in possesive form..Isn't children always a plural so the "S" has the apostrophe afterward all the time.Example,,
There cam not be a word, children's..Children is always plural..In possesive it has to be,childrens',right..Please set this teacher straight. My ten year old is smarter than his teacher....Mike


Interesting, I think I've read something like that somewhere in past, will try to find it.


Actually, "children" is a somewhat special case. Normal nouns, like "pencil" are made plural by adding an "s" (pencils). "Child" is made plural by changing the word to "children," not just adding an "s," so when you make it possessive, it uses just an "'s" because there is no multiple of "children," as it is already plural, making the possessive "children's," if that makes sense.

Your son may not be smarter than the teacher, but certainly has an inquisitive mind and doesn't just accept what he is told, which in my opinion is a much more desirable quality.

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