'ones' -- possessive

SuprunP

Senior Member
Ukrainian & Russian
This is not to imply that great guild leaders are omnipotent or narcissistic. These leaders do not have an inordinate amount of fascination with themselves, nor are they egoists. Not the great ones. The great ones live with humility yet are still confident of their abilities.
(Guild Leadership; J. Rezvani)

None of the great ones live here.
(Devil's Domain: A Brother Athelstan Medieval Mystery 8;
P. Doherty)

Let's say I wanted to say the following regarding the great ones:
Their success lies in perseverance.

Would you be so kind as to tell me whether it is true that one should employ in this case either the great ones' or the great ones's?

(I can't be sure why I have misgivings about this, but I couldn't find a definite answer neither here nor elsewhere, even though it must have been asked and answered.)

Thanks.
 
  • Glasguensis

    Signal Modulation
    English - Scotland
    In your sentence you should use ones as normal, since the possessive is "their". But if you had a sentence where you wanted to use the possessive form of ones, it would be ones'.
    The great ones' success lies in their perseverance.
     

    SuprunP

    Senior Member
    Ukrainian & Russian
    Thank you Glasguensis!

    In your sentence you should use ones as normal, since the possessive is "their".
    Would you be so kind as to expand on it a bit? If I substitute the great ones for their in my sentence wouldn't it be not unlike yours:
    The great ones' success lies in perseverance.

    Thanks.
     

    Uriel-

    Senior Member
    American English


    Would you be so kind as to tell me whether it is true that one should employ in this case either the great ones' or the great ones's?

    (I can't be sure why I have misgivings about this, but I couldn't find a definite answer neither here nor elsewhere, even though it must have been asked and answered.)

    Thanks.
    Okay, here is how it works:

    When adding an apostrophe to show possession, the rules are pretty simple:

    If the word is already plural and ends in an S, you just add an apostrophe. You do not add another S. So to make great ones possessive, you just write great ones'. Do not add another S. Because you would then have to actually say the second S, and it would sound like "the great oneses".

    If the word is plural but does NOT end in an S, you go ahead and add one after the apostrophe: our children's toys, those men's gloves, the two women's business, the geese's flight pattern.

    If the word is singular, add an apostrophe and an S: the child's grades, the man's hat, a woman's lot, the goose's eyes, the bus's tire, the mouse's food.

    The exception for singular words is in proper names that end in an S-sound: you have your choice of adding (and saying) another S or not. So you can either say Charles's coat (pronounced "Charleses coat") or Charles' coat (pronounced "Charles coat")
     

    Glasguensis

    Signal Modulation
    English - Scotland
    Thank you Glasguensis!


    Would you be so kind as to expand on it a bit? If I substitute the great ones for their in my sentence wouldn't it be not unlike yours:
    The great ones' success lies in perseverance.

    Thanks.
    The sentence you actually gave was "...the great ones : their ...". If you keep this then "ones" stays as it is. As I said, if you remove ": their", then it becomes "ones'". It may have been clear in your head that you were planning to remove "their", but you didn't actually say so.
     
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