Do possessive singular nouns ending with -s take -s’s?
It is a common misconception that the s is dropped when a singular noun ends with -s. The main rules for forming possessives are:
- Most singular nouns ending with s take -‘s (Jenny’s, Thomas’s)
- Plural nouns ending with -s take the apostrophe only (parents’).
- Plural nouns not ending with -s take -’s (men’s).
- Possessive pronouns do not take the apostrophe (yours, ours, its).
It’s the “most” in the first rule that gets everyone confused, but the exceptions to the rule are uncommon and easily remembered. For example, the plural of the singular noun Moses is Moses’. If you wrote Moses’s, then it would be pronounced Mos-es-es (try to pronounce it out loud and you’ll quickly see why the final s is dropped).
The exceptions are easy to remember because they are based on pronunciation. Just remember: if you pronounce it, then you write it.
November 13, 2015 / Tim McAuley / 0