Possessive Nouns

Discussion in 'General Education' started by giraffe326, Oct 15, 2009.

  1. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

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    Oct 15, 2009

    I pull from 2 sources when I teach grammar and they have conflicting information. I have googled and am told both ways are correct :banghead:
    I would like to straighten this out.

    If you had the sentence 'Mrs. Jones car is red' is it:

    Mrs. Jones's car is red.
    OR
    Mrs. Jones' car is red.

    Personally, I use the first way. There is only one Mrs. Jones. If it said The Jones' car is red. it would be different because there is more than one Jones.

    Please help. I think I am going to accept both ways on their assignment, but it bothers me.
     
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  3. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Oct 15, 2009

    I've always done it the 2nd way. At some point I learned that if a word ends in "s" you make it possesive by adding an apostrophe after the word.

    So I frequently post about "my kids' school" meaning the school my 2 younger children attend.
     
  4. MuggleBug

    MuggleBug Companion

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    Oct 15, 2009

    I was taught the second way but it seems in recent years, the first way has become more of the norm.
     
  5. blazer

    blazer Connoisseur

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    In this case the s at the end of Jones it part of the name tefore it should be Jones' to denote possesion.
     
  6. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

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    THAT is clear as day to me. It is plural.

    When I get confused is when it is a proper noun that ends with an S. :dizzy:
     
  7. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Oct 15, 2009

    I meant it to be both plural and possessive... as in, "their school."

    OK, to use the first example that comes to mind (sorry, but it happens to be religious).


    We speak about Mary, the mother of Jesus, as "Jesus' mother, Mary."
     
  8. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Oct 15, 2009

    The key here these days in current American English is not whether the noun or word ends in the letter <s> but whether in itself it is plural. This is not what I learned growing up, but that's life. So, in current American English, usage is as follows:

    Charles's car
    Mrs. Jones's car
    The Joneses' car

    But more archaic (reverent?) language is called for in the case of the Son of God, so if the Christ were to drive a Mini, it would be

    Jesus' Cooper

    Clear?
     
  9. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Oh, I was just using that particular name because it came to mind (after responding to a thread on religion) not to introduce the idea of reverence.

    So is it now incorrect to say "Mrs. Jones' car"???

    I'm so glad I teach math!!!!
     
  10. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Oct 15, 2009

    Not fully incorrect, no, but on the way out.

    And one can't very picture Jesus driving an Escalade or an old-time Cadillac, now, can one?
     
  11. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

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    Oct 15, 2009

    Thanks TeacherGroupie :)

    I did read that it was the shorter version (to drop the 's and just put a ' )
    Although, I never would have put Jonses' with an es. But, I would pronounce it that way (jones-iz.)
     
  12. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Oct 15, 2009

    I teach Mrs. Jones's. So does our grammar book. I do, however, explain that both are acceptable, but "Jones's" is gaining popularity. My last name ends with an s and this is how I deal with my name as well.
     
  13. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    Actually, both are considered correct. In today's world, though we commonly use the one that is written as we speak.

    Mrs. Jones's car
    Mrs. Smiths' car

    We don't say Smiths's; we do say Jones's.
     
  14. blazer

    blazer Connoisseur

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    It's not on the way out in England. Jones's car would be marked incorrect by my English teaching colleagues. Jones' car would be the accepted version.
     
  15. DHE

    DHE Connoisseur

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    A few years ago, we did some reach on this because my partner teacher's last name ends with an s and we found that both are acceptable these days.
     
  16. Ross

    Ross Comrade

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    I teach that both ways are acceptable.

    The students ask when they should use one form over the other, I tell them this is one time that they get to choose whichever one makes them happy since they are both correct.
     
  17. DHE

    DHE Connoisseur

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    Oct 16, 2009

    nice answer
     
  18. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    Oct 16, 2009

    But, really, you wouldn't say, "Mrs. Smiths's car", so why would you choose that spelling?
     
  19. Ross

    Ross Comrade

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    Oct 16, 2009


    You are right.

    But I also tell the students that English is relatively easy to learn since so many people around the world are able to pick up the language.

    Yet at the same time, I tell them, it is an intricate language full on nuances and exceptions. That teachers go to school for years to learn about it and still cannot have universal agreement concerning all the rules.

    I wish I had a better grasp of the language. I know I did not pay enough attention to my teachers when I was in school.
     
  20. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I think this might be because of the pronunciation of the Ses, which is different on the two words. The S in Jones is pronounced like a Z, whereas the S in Smiths is soft. It's easier to double-up on the Z sound (JoneZ-eZ) than to add a Z sound to an S sound (SmithS-eZ?).
     
  21. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Oct 16, 2009

    When I was in elementary school and learning this rule, my teacher told us that we could do it either way.

    To show possession, you add apostrophe-S. If the word already ends in an S, you can leave off the second S after the apostrophe if you want, or you can keep it.

    I almost always keep the second S, except in cases where it would sound funny because of a soft S, like Smiths's in the example above.
     

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