Subject: Re: The genitive
Both my examples are in the singular. The plural (I'm sorry I didn't
include this earlier) would be:
3. The princesses' dowries
Both the systems I mention (the academic and the newspaper) would use
the format of 3 to form the possessive of a plural. That is, first form
the plural word by addind -s or -es, and then add an apostrophe ('), but
NOT an apostrophe plus another -s ('s).
In other words, the form
*4. princesses's dowries
is not used by either system.
On the other hand, if the plural does not end in -s or an -s sound, then:
5. the oxen's yokes
I should add that whole chapters have been written on this "problem."
Every newpaper, magazine, and university will have its own style book,
and there are various exceptions to the guidelines I have set out for
For example, the written <princess's diaries>, when spoken, sounds like
However, when one is speaking, one says <for goodness sake> instead of
<for goodnesses sake>
Therefore this is usually written as <for goodness'sake>, even in
> Hi Bill,
> Thanks for your reply
> A question: Isn’t your nr 2 in the plural? ( two or more princesses)
> From: Bill Kelly <bkelly@...>
> Date: Sun Mar 5, 2006 1:56 pm
> Subject: Re: The genitive
> Send Email
> Hi Tommy!
> In English we usually call this the "possessive" rather than the "genitive."
> As you know, for English there is no one accepted authority (like Duden
> for German) that decides on matters of usage. There are rival systems
> for writing out the possessive of plurals.
> There is no disagreement about how to sound out the plural possessives
> when you say them -- the disagreement is about how to notate them in
> In your example, everyone would SAY "The princesses golden hair." In
> other words, you would say <princesses> just as if it were the plural
> noun of <princess>.
> But there are two major systems for how you would write it out:
> 1. The princess's golden hair.
> 2. The princess' golden hair.
> In the United States, newspapers tend to use system 2, and academic and
> book publishers tend to use system 1.
> Your example B is not used.
> Bill Kelly
> Connecticut USA
> larbrant wrote:
>>Where does the apostrophe come?
>>There is a princess and her golden hair
>>A The princess' s golden hair...
>>B The princess'es golden hair...
>>Do you prounounce it: iz at he end ?
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