of the princess

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eggplant

Member
english; australia
So yeah, how should I say it?

The garden that belongs to the princess =
Princess's garden
Princess' garden
?

I mean I usually just put s' for names, but it just doesn't seem right. I mean, I got taught s' for names eg. Osiris' garden. But what do I do here? I haven't a clue what's right.
 
  • maxiogee

    Banned
    English
    In Usage and Abusage, first published in 1947, Eric Fowler wrote of this as follows…

    In the past it was a very general, as it is now a not infrequent, practice
    to form the genitive singular of all nouns ending in s and especially those
    ending in ss (hostess) by assing an apostrophe to both the nominative
    singular (a hostess' duties, your Highness' pleasure) and of course in the
    plural ('The three hostesses' houses were in Park Lane'); but now it is
    usual to form the singular genitive by adding 's (a hostess's duties,
    your Highness's pleasure) — which seems to be a sensible idea, for if you can
    easily say three hostesses' houses, you can easily say a hostess's duties.
    There is, however, a strong tendency to retain Jesus' and Demosthenes',
    Socrates' and other such genitives of Greek proper names.​
     

    Mr Bones

    Senior Member
    España - Español
    They would indeed, just as boys, boy's and boys', dogs, dog's and dogs', etc, are pronounced the same.
    Hi, Panj.
    But does this happen when the noun is a proper name? I.g.,

    Johns, Johnses, Johnses's, Johnses'.

    How do you pronounce these four words.

    I think this has been driving me crazy for some time. I know there have already been some threads about it -I read them, I swear-, but I can't drum this into my head.

    Bones.
     

    Cayuga

    Senior Member
    English/USA
    But does this happen when the noun is a proper name?
    Hello again, Bones.

    I have friends whose last name is Jenkins. I call them "the Jenkinses." I refer to them as "the Jenkinses" in my holiday newsletter.
    However, they refer to themselves as "the Jenkins," which makes no sense to me. But when it comes to names, it's probably best to defer to the person whose name it is.


    e.g.,

    Johns, Johnses, Johnses's, Johnses'.

    How do you pronounce these four words.
    jahnz, jahnziz, jahnziziz, jahnziz

    (All of those 'i's should probably be schwas, but I don't know how to type one.)
     

    eggplant

    Member
    english; australia
    In Usage and Abusage, first published in 1947, Eric Fowler wrote of this as follows…

    In the past it was a very general, as it is now a not infrequent, practice
    to form the genitive singular of all nouns ending in s and especially those
    ending in ss (hostess) by assing an apostrophe to both the nominative
    singular (a hostess' duties, your Highness' pleasure) and of course in the
    plural ('The three hostesses' houses were in Park Lane'); but now it is
    usual to form the singular genitive by adding 's (a hostess's duties,
    your Highness's pleasure) — which seems to be a sensible idea, for if you can
    easily say three hostesses' houses, you can easily say a hostess's duties.
    There is, however, a strong tendency to retain Jesus' and Demosthenes',
    Socrates' and other such genitives of Greek proper names.​
    Thanks! That basically clears it up entirely for me. :)
     

    mplsray

    Senior Member
    I vote for princess's, but I wonder if this is one of those cases that can go either way?
    Not only can the form for the possessive of princess go either way, so that it can be spelled princess' or princess's, but nowadays the pronunciation of princess' can go either way as well: That is, princess' can be pronounced like either princess or princesses.

    One odd result of this practice is that even words in which the possessive s is pronounced by everyone, as in my boss's instructions, end up being spelled with an apostrophe and no s: my boss' instructions. I still haven't gotten quite used to that phenomenon.
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    If the extra s is pronounced it should be written.
    Hence princess's ears, boss's socks, Jones's hedge - but Socrates' philosophy, Saint Saens' music, Ulysses' companions and Aristophanes' plays.
    (Based on THIS useful source, but consistent with many other house styles.)
     

    mplsray

    Senior Member
    If the extra s is pronounced it should be written.
    Hence princess's ears, boss's socks, Jones's hedge - but Socrates' philosophy, Saint Saens' music, Ulysses' companions and Aristophanes' plays.
    (Based on THIS useful source, but consistent with many other house styles.)
    While that is the way I would do it, it is still useful, especially to someone learning English as a second language, to be aware that an expression such as his boss' office is pronounced as "his bosses office" rather than "his boss office". The spelling boss' is found in standard sources. While not definitive proof, a Google search gives evidence of this. Unfortunately, when searching for

    "his boss' office"

    Google will show results which contain either "his boss' office" or "his boss's office", and a search for

    "his boss' office" newspaper

    returns 709 results, many (most?) of which are from the online versions of newspapers. If we then use a minus sign to eliminate "his boss's office", as follows,

    "his boss' office" -"his boss's office" newspaper

    Google still returns 372 hits!

    And look at the results when you compare the search for

    "his boss' office" site:*.edu

    with that for

    "his boss' office" -"his boss's office" site:*.edu
     
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