Apostophe Now

Much like the 1979 movie Apocalypse Now with Martin Sheen, I feel that many people in society today realize they need an apostrophe (instead of an apolalypse), but they don’t know when or where to place it.

With names and words ending in -s, and a host of other instances, the apostrophe needs to be placed carefully. Failure to do so will make you look ignorant of the rules, at best, or just plain dumb, at worst!

Because no one  should look ignorant, I’d like to take this opportunity to provide the reader with a few tips in the “correct” placement of this enigmatic punctuation mark.

As a general rule, with names ending in -s, the apostrophe goes after the s when showing possession. Take, for example, the house belonging to Jesus. It would correctly become Jesus’ house. But that’s only with names/words with two or more syllables.

For names like Jones, it should be “the Jones’s house” – not to be confused with keeping up with the Joneses. “I like Tom Jones’s music.”

Other instances of confusion are with words from a language other than English. When writing about the house belonging to someone named Devereaux, would it be Devereaux’s house?

Bottom line, when referring to something belonging to someone or something whose name ends in -s, it’s probably best to find another way of saying or writing it. Who’s going to argue with someone about the Jones family?

But the owner of the name or company is ultimately the authority about where the apostrophe should go.

I don’t know if this post helped or if it just muddied the water’s.

Ha! Did you catch that?

Clear as mud? How ’bout it?

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