Parent's vs. Parents'

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Dan el Capitan, Aug 23, 2008.

  1. Dan el Capitan Member

    Los Angeles
    USA - English and Spanish
    Which is correct in this sentence:

    He is the eldest of my brothers and I am the second eldest of my parents/'s/s' children.

    Thanks beforehand.
  2. It depends on whether the writer means one parent or both.

    Parent's = of one parent. Parents' = of both parents.
  3. Dan el Capitan Member

    Los Angeles
    USA - English and Spanish
    The writer meant both parents.

    So 's=one person's belongings or property and s'=of more than one person.

  4. KHS

    KHS Senior Member

    Here's what I tell my students to do when forming the possessive of a noun:

    Add an apostrophe.
    If there's already an S, don't add one. If there's no S, add one.

    The child's books.
    The children's books.
    The student's (one student) books
    The students' (more than one student) books

    So, the word to the left of the apostrophe is the original noun.
  5. SophiePaquin Senior Member

    Northern Saskatchewan
    That rule also makes sense for singular nouns that end in s. Like "Jesus's apples"
  6. JulianStuart

    JulianStuart Senior Member

    Sonoma County CA
    English (UK then US)
    I think that is where one will find the biggest difference between style guides in AE vs BE, but I could be wrong :) In the US it's very common to see a singular noun or name such as Jesus' without the s after the apostrophe - but I am never sure how that is pronounced ( like Jesus or Jesuses )

    It's something I pay attention to knowing many Joneses - e.g. "Bill Jones' email address" as opposed to "Bill Jones's email address - occasionally becomes "Bill Jone's email address"
  7. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    I'm not sure there's a BrE/AmE issue here: there certainly isn't in relation to Dan el Capitan's original question.

    One parent: parent's
    Two parents: parents'
  8. KHS

    KHS Senior Member

    I learned that, with proper names ending in S, it was up to you whether or not you added the extra S, eg:


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