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James' or James's?

(28 Posts)
MamOfTwo Tue 09-Dec-14 18:26:42

My Yr 2 child has been learning about possessive apostrophes in class today. Her name ends with an 's'. Teacher has told her it should be James' but I think it should be James's. (Her name is not James, obviously.) I know both are correct, but is one 'more' correct? And if so, why?

PedantMarina Tue 09-Dec-14 18:29:11

Shouldn't that be "possessive apostrophe's"?

Actually, it hurt to even type that...

RobotRuthy Tue 09-Dec-14 18:29:42

I think James' is less clumsy.

scarletforya Tue 09-Dec-14 18:30:55

Jamesiz grin

MamOfTwo Tue 09-Dec-14 18:34:40

PedantMaria - no, it shouldn't. I was referring to more than one apostrophe - so the plural of that is apostrophes.

ilovepowerhoop Tue 09-Dec-14 18:34:57

I think they are both correct. James' looks neater

Bicnod Tue 09-Dec-14 18:36:54

I have a James and we always go with James's.

I read somewhere once that for someone/something famous/important you should use, for example, Jesus' or Guy's and St Thomas' - but for bog standard normal folk use 's.

ilovepowerhoop Tue 09-Dec-14 18:37:15

found this online:

*With personal names that end in -s: add an apostrophe plus s when you would naturally pronounce an extra s if you said the word out loud*:

He joined Charles’s army in 1642.

Dickens's novels provide a wonderful insight into Victorian England.

Thomas's brother was injured in the accident.

*With personal names that end in -s but are not spoken with an extra s: just add an apostrophe after the -s*:

The court dismissed Bridges' appeal.

Connors' finest performance was in 1991.

OttilieKnackered Tue 09-Dec-14 18:39:28

Both are correct. I usually advise my students (particularly the weaker ones) to use James's as it better reflects the way that they would say it. It also makes it slightly less confusing when explaining the difference in indicating the possession of a group of people (ladies' etc).

James' could potentially be mistaken for a group of people called 'Jame' owning something together.

petitdonkey Tue 09-Dec-14 18:39:40

I always thought it was James'…
Can I hijack a little and ask the pedants to settle an argument?? Punctuate the following sentence:

We are going to Sarahs parents house for Christmas.

Obviously they are her parents but their house - do they both get apostrophes?

MamOfTwo Tue 09-Dec-14 18:42:05

We are going to Sarah's parents' house for Christmas.

Bicnod Tue 09-Dec-14 18:42:29

I would use:

We are going to Sarah's parents' house for Christmas.

AliMonkey Tue 09-Dec-14 18:43:52

Sarah's parents' house

SquidgyMaltLoaf Tue 09-Dec-14 18:45:22

I remember this coming up on the Test The Nation quiz about ten years ago - the correct answer there was James's - as in St James's Palace.

iwantginsoakedXmas Tue 09-Dec-14 18:47:05

I thought you could do either James' or James's.

The first looks less clumsy on the page.

Fairyfellowsmasterstroke Tue 09-Dec-14 18:50:24


PedantMarina Tue 09-Dec-14 18:51:38

Mam, yes, I know. I was utilising some serious self-mockery there.. I do apologise, should have inserted a smiley face or similar.

petitdonkey Tue 09-Dec-14 18:53:51

Thank you!

MamOfTwo Tue 09-Dec-14 18:55:24

PedantMarina - apologies, sense of humour failure on my part! Apologies also for missing the 'n' from 'Marina' in my earlier post...

TheWomanTheyCallJayne Tue 09-Dec-14 19:05:33

I have a James and use both dependent on what looks right at the time.

JeanSeberg Tue 09-Dec-14 19:05:57

I thought the rule was up to 2 syllables is s's after that it's s'.

So James's cat, Agnes's dog but Aurelius' empire.

DadDadDad Wed 10-Dec-14 11:33:44

I have a name that ends with an s, and I think I prefer the s's formulation, because it distinguishes it from s' cases where the word is a plural. I am not a plural! I also agree with the point that it emphasises pronuncation, ie we say James-IZ not James, but dogs' is not pronounced dogs-IZ.

DadDadDad Wed 10-Dec-14 11:35:27

And before another pedant gets there, I do know how to spell pronunciation. blush

Waitingonasunnyday Wed 10-Dec-14 11:39:23

I've always preferred James', even though I would say Jamesiz.

Waitingonasunnyday Wed 10-Dec-14 11:44:12

Thinking about it, my own name ends in s. It is double s so I think that's why I prefer '.

Tess' dress looks nice. Tess's dress looks nice.

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