Wednesday, October 30, 2013

GRAMMAR: Apostrophe S

[Originally posted on March 16, 2012.]

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There is a BIG difference between a plural noun and a possessive noun.


For example: Hero's vs. Heroes


The hero's sword is big and shiny.


The heroes band together to fight for their right to wear spandex.


It seems obvious to you?

What about the possessive singular form of Charles?

Well ... according to THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE by Strunk and White, the correct answer is:
Charles's friend

Did you get it right?

That tricky little apostrophe S can get the best of us sometimes.

What about you?
Do you ever struggle with possessive nouns?


  1. I dislike the apostrophe S after an S. I just put an apostrophe because that's how I was taught in school. Sorry, White and Strunk, heehee! I've been seeing the apostrophe S after an S a lot more now, though.

  2. I'm with Laura. I usually just put an apostrophe. I feel a lisp coming on when I use the S after an S apostrophe.

  3. I used to question it's (the contraction) with its (the possessive.

    The eagle clenched its prey and pecked away at the meat.

    For many years I thought it should be "it's"

    Thank goodness for grammar checks now and again, I learned this one the hard way, a memo corrected by the big boss. *blush*

  4. *laughs* But I don't agree with Strunk and White. It just looks daft. Free form grammar. Anyone with me?

  5. More with contractions. It's and its.When I'm chatting on my writer group I don't care because I'm just talking but when I'm writing it will bite me hard.

    The heroes' weapons were set aside as they spoke. How's that? lol!

    Have a good weekend!


  6. I do get mistakes when using possessive nouns sometimes. I think it is harder to point out compared with other grammatical errors.. That is why I spend time doing grammar checks always

  7. I have been planning on doing a post on grammar problem is I don't know if I can remember all of those little grammar rules I'm supposed to be following!

  8. apostrophes don't plague me, many other grammatical errors do, but not the possessives. thanks for spreading the word! and i read my comment 3 times to make sure i didn't mess up (besides caps, ipad not cap friendly =)

  9. I don't really struggle with possessives; though with harder cases (such as the book title Descartes' Error), as the above commenter mentioned, I do wonder when you leave off the second "s".

  10. Tricky. Tricky. That is. Great to be reminded. Thx

  11. I wouldn't have added that extra S either. Darn, and I thought I finally had it :-)

  12. I do know what I'm supposed to do with an apostrophe - but sometimes you can't tell I know just from reading my work!

  13. Saturday's shopping list read:

    Candle's Pizza's Alcohol Pepsi.

    Although the words themselves were pictures made with chalk on a blackboard the apostrophes remained.

    What's worse, it was hours before somebody corrected it and at least twelve university educated people had read it. Including two English students.

  14. I always struggle a bit when I have a name that ends in S. Usually, I hope a beta or editor corrects me during edits.