Possessive - proper names ending in Z or S

  • dwipper

    Senior Member
    U.S. English
    I've seen both Luiz's and Luiz', but I think that it is technically correct to leave out the 's' for words that already end with a similar consonant (z, s, x).
     

    ChiMike

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    You make it in the same way you would make it if it ended in "s" (as for Luis, Louis, or Lewis).

    Here's what Fowler (Modern English Usage) has to say:

    Possessive puzzles:
    1. Septimus's, Achilles'. It was formerly customary, when a word ended in -s, to write its possessive with an apostrophe but no additional s, e.g. Mars' hill, Venus' Bath, Achilles' thews. In verse, and in poetic or reverential contexts, this custom is retained, and the number of syllables is the same as in the subjective case, e.g. Achilles' has three, not four syllables, Jesus' two, not three. But elsewhere we now usually add the s and the syllable - always when the word is monosyllabic, and preferably when it is longer, Charles's Wain, St. James's Street, Jones's children, the Rev. Septimus's surplice, Pythagoras's doctrines. Plurals of proper names ending s form their possessive in the same way as ordinary plurals (the Joneses' home, the Rogerses' party).

    So, you get your choice if you don't regard Fowler as the last word (and I don't always, certainly not here) but merely as a guide to what is usually done.

    Personally, what I usually do for monosyllables is what he suggests: I generally add the "s", or, if it's not the name of a person, decide whether "of the" would sound better. (Who would say: "He lay at the cross's foot", instead of "at the foot of the cross"?). For everything else, I say it out loud and see whether I add the "s" in speech to make the meaning clear. I would definitely say: Luis's, Lewis's - but I would say or write: Luiz' shirt, or Louis' shirt because there is no distinction in my pronuciation between Louis's shirt or Luiz's and Louise's. I wouldn't want to give the boys gender insecurity! That's because I use the U.S. pronunciation of Louis (Lou-ie), because most Mid West Americans who write their own names that way pronounce it in that fashion, so it does not sound like Lewis. If I pronounce it Lewis (as formally in St. Louis, Mo. - but colloquially: St. Lou-ie), then I add the apostrophe and s.

    Of course, if I were pronouncing Luiz using "ceceo", I wouldn't use the English possessive at all. "That shirt belongs to Luith" striking me as the only pronounceable possibility.
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    You will find that there are no firm rules on this in British English.
    CLICK HERE for one set of guidance. << NB This link is no longer correct. It's a pity. >> << It works again now!! It is to the Economist's Style Guide. >>
    There are other sets that are different.

    I would write Luiz's.
     
    Last edited:

    timpeac

    Senior Member
    English (England)
    la reine victoria said:
    I agree with Dwipper.

    Another example is "Father Christmas' sack of toys" which wouldn't be written as "Father Christmas's . . . . ."

    LRV
    It would by me:)
     

    timpeac

    Senior Member
    English (England)
    Mr Bones said:
    I've always had a doubt about this subject. How do you pronounce it? Thank you, Bones.
    Father chrissmassiz

    The fact you pronounce both letters is the main reason why I've never understood those who write Jesus' etc.
     

    Mr Bones

    Senior Member
    España - Español
    Hello, timpeac. Thank you. That was what I actually thought. But my problem is that very often I don't hear this final siz. I know that it is suppossed to be there, but I fail to notice it when I listen to many natives to talk. Might it be possible that this sound is sometimes left out or am I a bit hard of hearing?

    Anyway, it's reassuring to learn again that that is the way to pronounce it.

    Regards, Bones.
     

    timpeac

    Senior Member
    English (England)
    Mr Bones said:
    Hello, timpeac. Thank you. That was what I actually thought. But my problem is that very often I don't hear this final siz. I know that it is suppossed to be there, but I fail to notice it when I listen to many natives to talk. Might it be possible that this sound is sometimes left out or am I a bit hard of hearing?

    Anyway, it's reassuring to learn again that that is the way to pronounce it.

    Regards, Bones.
    As far as I'm aware it is always pronounced.

    Whose dog it that?
    It's Baz'

    Hmmm no - never, just "It's Baz's".

    The only exception I can think of is in hymns where they often miss the 's of "Jesus" to make it scan, as in "Jesus' hands are kind hands" - an intellectual laziness that has always annoyed me.
     

    timpeac

    Senior Member
    English (England)
    Another exception occurs - in plural surnames. Usually pronounced "iz" but sometimes not.

    Keeping up with the Jones'(s) pronounced either "Jonez" or "Joneziz".
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    I think I agree with Timpeac on this issue, probably.

    Do remember that there may be very different views on this subject. A wise writer will check the style guide for the organisation they are writing for.
     

    timpeac

    Senior Member
    English (England)
    panjandrum said:
    I think I agree with Timpeac on this issue, probably.

    Do remember that there may be very different views on this subject. A wise writer will check the style guide for the organisation they are writing for.
    Oh yes - there is certainly controversy about the spelling - but would you agree with my views on the pronunciation aspect Panj? Basically always pronounced apart from in bad poetry/songs to scan and some people's pronunciation of surnames? I am just thinking off the top of my head so there may be other exceptions.
     
    timpeac said:
    It would by me:)
    I would always pronounce Father Christmas' as Father Chrissmassiz. I was taught that adding 's' after the possessive apostrophe is optional. But that was long ago. ;)

    "Jesus' hands are kind hands" doesn't annoy me since we know we are singing about "Jeezussiz" hands.

    In the same way, we end our prayers "For Jesus' sake" not "Jeezussiz sake". I've heard lots of "For Jeez-yous sake" and "We ask this in Jeez-yous name". These two annoy me for some reason. I think because this changes his name to Jesu instead of Jesus. Speaking of which, I'm reminded of "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring" - this has never annoyed me.

    I would always write "keeping up with the Joneses" with no apostrophe. Google supports this (for what it's worth). ;)

    For native speakers it would seem that as soon as we see the possessive apostrophe, whether or not it is followed by "s", Jesus' or Jesus's, Luiz' or Luiz's, Baz' or Baz's, we know how to pronounce it.

    Oddly enough I would never write Louise', always Louise's. But Moses', not Moses's. And I would say 'Mowziz' descendants, not 'Mowziziz' descendants. :confused:

    :eek:
    LRV
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Regardless of spelling, I add the extra possessive sibillant (I think).

    Father Christmasizz
    Loisizz
    Jesusizz and Mosesizz - I try to avoid because they have three s sounds in a row. Two I can cope with:)
     

    moo mouse

    Senior Member
    English UK
    A very interesting discussion.

    In the case of names ending in -s, as in James, I was taught that it is technically wrong to write James's and that one should always write James' but pronounce it Jamesez. Consequently I get extremely indignant whenever I run into it in official writing, usually in place names. But I think perhaps I just hold a particularly old fashioned approach to English grammar, and in current usage it seems to be acceptable to add the extra 's'.

    However, in the case of names ending in -z I think it is much more up to the individual, mainly because these names often originate from other languages so no real rule applies. It is an awkward looking and sounding combination, and I would imagine this is the reason some people don't pronounce the extra sound when perhaps it would technically be correct.

    Louise's never encounters this problem because it does not end in s. And Keeping up with the Joneses is plural, not possessive so it doesn't encounter this problem either.

    To me Luiz' looks more natural as it interferes less with the Spanish word, but Baz's not Baz'. I am not really sure why though, and I think it is really a question of choice - either way will probably look wrong to some people! I think I would say of or belonging to Luiz if I could.
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    This guide to punctuation would find favour with some, but not all, the above:)

    This rule [add 's to indicate possessive] applies in most cases even with a name ending in s:

    There are three types of exception.

    First, a plural noun which already ends in s takes only a following apostrophe:

    Second, a name ending in s takes only an apostrophe if the possessive form is not pronounced with an extra s.

    Third - well you'll have to look that up for yourself otherwise I would have to delete part of my own post:D
     

    moo mouse

    Senior Member
    English UK
    I always thought when it came to English grammar, that a rule was a rule... but now it seems like there are many conflicting versions of these same rules.

    I would have to disagree with the James's (ie apostrophe and 's' even with names ending in -s) rule of Panjandrum's cited guide to punctuation. But now I know that there is such diverse opinion about this perhaps I will get less annoyed by seeing versions of the above!

    The staunch grammar traditionalist (at only 23) ;)
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Ah, yes, the rules.
    It seems we have guidelines, not rules.
    And of course we have different sets of guidelines for different purposes and different contexts. Not to mention different sets of guidelines in different parts of the world.

    Then there are those who feel that we DO have rules, and that their guidelines ARE the rules:D

    Scope for much discussion, and the evidence for this lies in many threads in this forum.
     

    Alunarada

    Banned
    Spain-Spanish
    ChiMike said:
    Of course, if I were pronouncing Luiz using "ceceo", I wouldn't use the English possessive at all. "That shirt belongs to Luith" striking me as the only pronounceable possibility.
    Hi! That's Portugese , so i'm not sure but i don't think they prununce with "ceceo"... so "Luiz" is pronunced "Luis" as in Spanish , you will never hear "Luith", that's weird.


    Anyways, so you will never add 's to a name ending by "z" (th)?...hummm yeah! it would sound odd, "Sánchez's = Sáncheths" :confused: , anyways in English most english speakers are prone to pronunce the Spanish zed as an s, so there would be no problem ;)

    and what about a name ending in "d" what sounds "th" in Spanish too, I guess in that case it would be change into "dis" (i can't think of an example name, sorry!)

    Ps: Sure I am if a name which ends in z but it is pronunced as "ch" like mine would be Alaitz's = "alaich-es" ;) :p hehe, if i think of the sound it has less to do with "-siz"
     

    monty11

    New Member
    English
    I am making baby shower invites and it goes like this...

    The Montes'/ Monteses/ Montes's are having a boy!

    Which one would I use? The last name is Montes and I am referring to both Husband and Wife. Can someone please help me out with how I write Montes in plural?
    Thanks so much
     

    Egmont

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    Monteses.

    "Montes' " describes something that belongs to more than one person named Monte.

    "Montes's" describes something that belongs to one person named Montes.

    English plurals do not use apostrophes. Some people make exceptions to this rule in certain cases, but none of those cases applies here.
     

    monty11

    New Member
    English
    The last name is Montes and I am referring to both husband and wife. So would I use The Montes' are having a Boy or The Montes's are having a boy?
    Thanks ofr your help!
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    The Monteses is the normal plural form. Like keeping up with the Joneses. Apostrophes are not used in plurals unless you want to create the possessive form - as illustrated by Egmont above..
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    The last name is Montes and I am referring to both husband and wife. So would I use The Montes' are having a Boy or The Montes's are having a boy?
    Thanks ofr your help!
    I'd write Montes' and say "Montesses". We have friends called Francis, and we visit the [pron]"Francises"
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    SO use, The Monteses are having a boy. I guess it just looks funny.
    I belong to a family which has an -s at the end of the name so it looks just fine to me! In fact, I sometimes feel it is disrespectful when people treat it as a plural and withhold the appropriate ending.

    As Egmont says
    "Montes' " describes something that belongs to more than one person named Monte.
    "Montes's" describes something that belongs to one person named Montes.
    If you write anything other than Monteses, you will either be plain wrong or just ambiguous and people will wonder which Monte family is being referred to :(

    You can always use "Mary and John Montes are ..."
     

    lucas-sp

    Senior Member
    English - Californian
    And to finish the series, Monteses' refers to things that the Monteses own: "The Monteses are having a baby. It'll be Mr. Montes's first child. We're going over to the Monteses' to celebrate. You remember my friend Monte, right? Well, I'll have to remember to pick up Monte's hat when we're over there - he left it at their house after the party last month. Maybe we should introduce him to your friend Monte - it would be interesting to see if the two Montes get along. Wait - you mean the Montes are having a baby too? I suppose we'll have to go to the Montes' house, then, too. I can pick up Monte's hat for Monte at the Monteses' when we see the Monteses and bring it over to the Montes' when we see the Montes."
     
    Last edited:

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    "The Monteses are having a baby. It'll be Mr. Montes's first child. We're going over to the Monteses's to celebrate. You remember my friend Monte, right? Well, I'll have to remember to pick up Monte's hat when we're over there - he left it at their house after the party last month. Maybe we should introduce him to your friend Monte - it would be interesting to see if the two Montes get along. Wait - you mean the Montes are having a baby too? I suppose we'll have to go to the Montes's house, then, too. I can pick up Monte's hat for Monte at the Monteses's when we see the Monteses and bring it over to the Montes's when we see the Montes.":thumbsup:
    All heck broke out when the Montes and the Monteses had a party with their friends the Williams and the Williamses from down the street, just because the Joneses and the Robertses couldn't make it that evening so no-one brought any food. We can get along just fine without apostrophes :eek:
     

    lucas-sp

    Senior Member
    English - Californian
    I want to continue but... so... off-topic...

    Also, isn't it funny that the word "apostrophes" itself ends in a difficult-to-apostrophize ending?
     

    timpeac

    Senior Member
    English (England)
    And to finish the series, Monteses's refers to things that the Monteses own: "The Monteses are having a baby. It'll be Mr. Montes's first child. We're going over to the Monteses's to celebrate
    No, surely not. The plural possessive form of a noun doesn't take 's it simply takes '.

    The Joneses' dog (the dog of both of them). Not the *Joneses's dog.

    I don't see why it would be different for "Montes".
     

    lucas-sp

    Senior Member
    English - Californian
    I'm sure you're right, tim - I think I was suffering from apostrophe hypnosis when I wrote the above post, staring at a list that ran "Monteses Monteses's Monteses' Montes' Montes's Monte's Montes Montes'." I'll correct it now.
     

    Egmont

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    ... isn't it funny that the word "apostrophes" itself ends in a difficult-to-apostrophize ending?
    When I read this, my first reaction was "Why would one need to form the possessive of 'apostrophes?' Surely apostrophes can't own anything!"

    I then realized that, while punctuation marks can't possess property, they can possess characteristics: color, size and so on. We could refer to the apostrophes' color, for example. I don't find that awkward and don't see how "apostrophes" is difficult to apostrophize. If one doesn't like it, "the color of the apostrophes" is a viable alternative.
     

    Pertinax

    Senior Member
    BrE->AuE
    The plural possessive form of a noun doesn't take 's it simply takes '.
    Of course. That is a good reason ALWAYS* to use "'s" after a singular possessive. Otherwise "Montes' house" might belong either to someone called "Montes" or to a family with the surname "Monte".

    *But every rule has an Achilles' heel.
     

    apoziopeza

    Senior Member
    slovak
    Hi,

    is it correct to use s after apostrophe in some cases?

    For example, here -

    "Geiss's billing rate is EUR xxx."

    I've found in the grammar book some contentious examples - Mr Jones' house (Mr Jones's house), but Socrates' wife, Oedipus' complex, but Prince of Wales's helicopter

    I've found on the Internet "Here is another rule just recently changed. When you had a word that ended in s you used to just tack on the " ' " but now you need to add the s (just changed last year). So "Jesus' people" is now "Jesus's people" "

    Now, I am a bit confused as I knew that there should be no s after apostrophe in any case.

    thanks,
    A.

     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    is it correct to use s after apostrophe in some cases?

    Now, I am a bit confused as I knew that there should be no s after apostrophe in any case.
    Yes it is

    May I suggest that you are a bit confused because you have been taught a rule that does not exist? The following are all correct:

    St Thomas' Hospital, London
    The Prince of Wales's Feathers
    Oedipus Complex (It is neither Oedipus' Complex nor Oedipus's complex)
    St James's Park / St James' Park (it depends on which particular park with that name you are talking about)

    As for
    Here is another rule just recently changed. When you had a word that ended in s you used to just tack on the " ' " but now you need to add the s (just changed last year).
    , the internet is not only a source of useful information. It is also a source of utter tosh (=complete rubbish).

    I would write "in Jesus's name". Others may write "in Jesus' name" we are all correct, because in English (unlike French) we do not have self-appointed language police.
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    Shouldn't it be "Bill Gates' plan......"?
    Have you read all the way through this thread? Some people prefer Gates', some prefer Gates's. Neither is wrong. Most people would say "Gates's", so it makes sense to write it that way (well, to me it does).
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    Today, I read the sentence below on the Washington Post.

    Bill Gates's plan
    to assist the world's poor


    Shouldn't it be "Bill Gates' plan......"?

    Thanks

    Bye
    Some people are taught that if the word ends in -s it must be plural and therefore gets the same treatment as real plurals. You seem to have been taught this. I and many others feel that the addition of only an apostrophe after an - s is correct only when that s actually indicates a plural. A name ending in an s is not considered a plural.
     

    Icanfly

    Senior Member
    Italiano - Italia
    There is a logic in what you said, you're right, Bill Gates's plan is more correct than Bill Gates' plan. Thanks.
     

    Mamakanu

    New Member
    American English
    Another exception occurs - in plural surnames. Usually pronounced "iz" but sometimes not.

    Keeping up with the Jones'(s) pronounced either "Jonez" or "Joneziz".
    I just thought I should comment that in this context, it would be written "Keeping up with the Joneses," assuming you are speaking of more than one person with the last name Jones. There is no cause to use an apostrophe; there is no possessive state or contraction involved. You are merely pluralizing a word that ends in "s." For example, more than one dress would be "dresses." This is no different from expressing more than one person named Jones.
     

    osmankaya

    Senior Member
    Turkey
    ''Charles's car is new'' or ''Charles' car is new.''
    Which one is more acceptable in British English?
     

    Silver

    Senior Member
    Chinese,Cantonese,Sichuan dialect
    I don't know, since I am not a native speaker.

    But I've never seen BE speakers use "s's", namely "Charles's car is new":cross:
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top