We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Apostrophes


Today a friend/colleague sent me an email which had an error in “apostrophical” placement, or placement of the apostrophe. He wrote, “meeting everyones’ needs…” Why, you ask, do I claim there’s a problem with the apostrophe? Well, everyone is singular, as are the words everybody, each, either, nobody, and no one. (I was blessed to have an English teacher in seventh grade who chanted those words like a mantra to help the class remember them.)

Because the word doesn’t end in s, the apostrophe comes before the s making it possessive. If my friend had said “Charles” instead of everyone, he would have been correct in placing the apostrophe after the s, because “Charles” is a proper noun ending in S: Achilles’ heel, Dickens’ novels, Xerxes’ armies, Jesus’ life…

The Associated Press Stylebook and Libel Manual says that for plural nouns not ending in S, one should add ‘s to make it possessive: Alumni’s contributions, women’s rights…

For plural nouns ending in S, one should add only the apostrophe: “the churches’ needs, the girls’ toys, the horses’ food…”

Or, if that doesn’t make sense to you, you could always find another way of stating what you would like said: The armies of Xerxes, the toys of the girls, the food of all the horses…

How ’bout it?

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3 Comments on “We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Apostrophes”

  1. […] a commonly-held belief (2) princess’s – Dickens’ – Czolgosz’ – Moses’: On the Mark Writing (3) princess’s – Dickens’s – Czolgosz’ – Moses’: Harold Kolb, James […]

  2. 290154687607

    plan to check it out

  3. Anonymous Says:

    Thank you very much, very helpful.

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