Thursday, October 23, 2008

Quick lesson in punctuation: apostrophes with nouns ending in s

In a previous post, I wrote about Boss’s Day. Why did I write Boss’s Day and not Boss’ Day? Because according to the Associated Press Stylebook, for singular common nouns ending in s you express possession by adding ’s.

Examples: The actress’s voice, the hostess’s invitation

However, if the next word begins with an s, then just add the apostrophe without the s.

Examples: The actress’ smile, the boss’ seat

BUT… for singular proper nouns, use only an apostrophe. (Why do they have to make it so hard?)

Examples: Agnes’ book, my Guinness’ smooth flavor
Exception: St. James’s Palace (Don’t ask—this is why people hate grammar.)

4 comments:

Hurricane Mikey said...

All those rules of grammar are tough to remember. Although, there's one that I've never forgotten: Never use three prepositions in the same sentence unless you are walking through the valley of the shadow of death.

Linda Lou said...

They are tough to remember! That's why it's always a good idea to have a style guide handy. Unless, of course, you're walking through the valley of the shadow of death.

Argentine Rocket said...

I love this Linda! I hadn't heard of this rule, soooo helpful!

Mimi said...

Fantastic!
Are you Lynne Truss mark 2?