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I don't know if they still teach it this way, but back when I was in school, possessives that ended in an s were written as an s+apostrophe. As in: Hans' hands were holding Hoss' horses' saddles. (Hmmm...not bad!)
-40hz (June 26, 2009, 03:51 PM)
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Definitely the way I learned it in school!
-Darwin (June 26, 2009, 05:05 PM)
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True if it ends in "s" because it is plural and is not a surname. Not true if it ends in "s" but is is a surname, which would make it not a plural.

E.g., That is Tom Jones's song. Not a plural so it still gets the 's instead of the s'   Thoroughly confused now?


Oh - of course if the song belonged to his family it then would be the Joneses' song.   ;)


You might be right person to ask :)

I've heard once that "the possessive case is not allowed for objects as owners" so using i.e. "router's IP address" instead of "IP address of the router" is mistake. Now, looking at your "Be sure to check the box's contents" makes me feel confused.

Could you enlighten me (or post a link to better sources)?
-fenixproductions (June 26, 2009, 04:29 PM)
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Being an American speaker of English (an oxymoron if there ever was one BTW), I'm probably not the best person to ask.

However, I do remember being taught both ways. In grammar school (uniforms, Dominican nuns, eyaaaaahhhh!!)...sorry...we were, in fact, taught that objects could not use the possessive case...

In High School (Jesuits, jeans, yay Joplin!, yay Hendrix!)...sorry...we were told just the opposite. The rule seemed to be that objects could use the possessive if doing so allowed you to avoid an awkward construct. Basically, you used whichever form sounded better.


I would have thought that, by now, all those grammarians would have reached consensus on how to handle the plural/possessive question. But after doing some research, it seems the jury is still out on this one.

I'd take a look at these two links for clarification:

Many writers consider it bad form to use apostrophe -s possessives with pieces of furniture and buildings or inanimate objects in general. Instead of "the desk's edge" (according to many authorities), we should write "the edge of the desk" and instead of "the hotel's windows" we should write "the windows of the hotel." In fact, we would probably avoid the possessive altogether and use the noun as an attributive: "the hotel windows." This rule (if, in fact, it is one) is no longer universally endorsed. We would not say "the radio of that car" instead of "that car's radio" (or the "car radio") and we would not write "the desire of my heart" instead of "my heart's desire." Writing "the edge of the ski" would probably be an improvement over "the ski's edge," however.
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Possessive forms (Bedford 36a/Hodges' 15a)
A possessive form of a noun signifies that the noun owns something:

A musician's talent
A woman's ambition

Possessive forms call for a properly placed apostrophe. The placement is different for singular and plural nouns. For this reason, you must know the correct singular and possessive nouns before you can make them possessive.

Singular possessive
The possessive form of a singular noun is an apostrophe followed by the letter "s."

Kramer's hair
Daphne's patience
the car's engine

Words ending with s, z or x generally omit the "s."

Dr. Seuss' sense of humor

Plural possessive
In order to place the apostrophe correctly in plural nouns, you must first be certain of the plural form. If you have questions about these forms, you may want to browse the section on plural nouns above.

For plural nouns ending in "s," add only an apostrophe:

Singers' voices
The cousins' favorite uncle

For plural nouns not ending in "s," add an apostrophe and "s."

Men's clothing
Children's books
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So if you're confused about what's most correct - don't be. I am too!  ;D

I'm getting annoyed with people who can actually remember back to school  :huh:
-Grorgy (June 26, 2009, 05:43 PM)
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I was hoping you'd feel sorry for us.

It's not our fault we didn't have liberal parents...

(or enough pocket money to buy beer!) 

  :beerchug: :beerchug::beerchug: :beerchug:
:beerchug:                           :beerchug:
  :beerchug: :beerchug::beerchug: :beerchug:


Oh - of course if the song belonged to his family it then would be the Joneses' song.   ;)
-J-Mac (June 26, 2009, 06:16 PM)
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it's hard to keep up with them  :p


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