Posted tagged ‘tricky words’

Apostrophes and Possessives Made Clear

July 15, 2009

newsletterI got this newsletter from Jane Straus this morning in my inbox. Most of the time, I don’t forward these missives on to my blog, but this proves extremely helpful for people who have questions.

Plural and Possessive Forms with Names Ending in y

How do you form the plural of a proper noun that ends in y such as Murphy? Should you change the name to Murphies? Given how other English words ending in y form their plurals, you would think so.

Examples:

puppy / puppies

army / armies

supply / supplies

However, proper nouns are not made plural in the same way common nouns are.

Rule: Do not change the spelling of a name to make it plural. Instead, just add s.

Examples:

I visited the Murphys last weekend.

We have two Zacharys in our office.

What if you want to show possession with a name that ends in y?

Rule: To show singular possession, use the apostrophe and then the s.

Example: I petted Mrs. Murphy’s cat.

Rule: To show plural possession, make the proper noun plural first, then use the apostrophe.

Examples:

I petted the Murphys’ cat.

I visited the Murphys’ store on Main Street.

Rule: To show the plural of a name that ends in s, ch, or z, add es.

Examples:

The Sanchezes will be over soon.

The Thomases moved away.