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Doubting Thomas - what's the possessive?

15 replies

prussell · 25/03/2008 10:09

We named our recently born DS Thomas but DH and I can't agree on the correct possessive ...

I think that - unless two people called Thomas are involved - it is Thomas's but DH backed by a very well-educated friend (together with a quick Google search) imply that all is not black and white and that Thomas' is now acceptable. Apparently there is a whole "less is more" modern school of thought out there.

Please help. Am running out of ways to avoid the issue in the thank you notes ....

OP posts:
MaryAnnSingleton · 25/03/2008 10:11

I think Thomas' looks better

Tommy · 25/03/2008 10:12

I have always used Thomas'

IdrisTheDragon · 25/03/2008 10:13

You can put either Thomas's or Thomas'.

edam · 25/03/2008 10:14

Either is correct these days (I'm sure I've checked this with Fowler's).

ladymixalot · 25/03/2008 10:44

All my style guides suggest the extra 's', unless the name ends in 'es' (or sounds like it does). So Thomas's, but Archimedes' . But it's a suggestion rather than a rule.

ladymixalot · 25/03/2008 10:49

btw if two people called Thomas are involved, it's gotta be Thomases'. E.g. "The two Thomases' trains".

Unlikely to need to use that very often, though!

prettybird · 25/03/2008 11:07

I thought Thomas' was the "old correct" possessive and Thomas's was the more recent "also acceptable" form.

I presonally would use "Thomas'"

The point is to be consistent in whichever one you choose.

tortoiseSHELL · 25/03/2008 11:09

Thomas' is what always used to be taught - I think you would get away with Thomas's! I was taught if it ends in s then you just use s'.

prussell · 25/03/2008 11:51

Thank you all. Very helpful.

It was always drilled into me that unless it was a plural ending in "s" (e.g. directors') then it still got the extra s but it seems there is room for interpretation after all!

Agree with prettybird that consistency is key. Think I will go with Thomas's despite it being slightly inelegant. To override my strict Jesuit training at this late age might cause lasting damage

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RoxyNotFoxy · 27/03/2008 11:34

The best rule to follow is the sound rule. How does it sound when you say it? Is it "It's Thomas's birthday" or "It's Thomas' birthday". I'd say "Thomas's". But I wouldn't say "Menzies's". I'd say "Menzies'", so I'd write it the same way. However you say it, that's how you spell it.

sarahsixtoes · 27/03/2008 11:59

I refer patients to St Thomas' Hospital, and was always taught that the second "s" was dropped and replaced by the apostrophe.

sarahsixtoes · 27/03/2008 12:02

I just double checked on line and St Thomas' Hospital is listed like this without the second "s".

NatalieJane · 27/03/2008 12:02

My DS2 is DS1's Thomas' little brother

wheresthehamster · 27/03/2008 12:32

What about Thoma's

I agree with whoever said if you sound the 's' spell it with an 's' (Thomas's) but leave it off if you don't (Menzies')

prussell · 27/03/2008 20:00

On St Thomas' Hospital, this is actually quite controversial and every now and again I see some article in the press about it.

Apparently they justify it by saying that the hospital is named after two Thomases but as ladymixalot says then it would be correct to say St Thomases' Hospital.

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