JS Tip 421: Apostrophes and Possession, Part III

From the Writing Workshops: Apostrophes and Possession, Part III

We’ve been talking about apostrophes and possession.

Last week, we talked about the U.S. Board of Geographic Names’ exception (rare apostrophes—only five in 127 years).

This week, we’ll talk about joint or group ownership.

Fairly simple. Fairly straightforward.

Let’s suppose Tabitha and Ike submit a joint paper to a professional journal. They work together. They collaborate. The paper belongs to both of them.

The submission is Tabitha and Ike’s paper.

Notice: One apostrophe after the final name, with an accompanying s

Let’s suppose Tabitha and Ike write separate papers for the same journal. They work separately.

The submissions are Tabitha’s and Ike’s papers.

Notice: Apostrophes after each name, each with an accompanying s.

Notice, as well, we’re talking about two papers. Plural. 

Next week, we’ll talk about other uses of apostrophes (The 1990s or the 1990’sRPMs or RPM’s? Hmmm. A puzzle.).

What are your questions?

We love this stuff.

Mark Brooks