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"the apostrophe revisited" Topic

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700 hits since 7 Oct 2013
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Mrs Pumblechook Inactive Member07 Oct 2013 9:41 p.m. PST

Just wondering why in some cases, where a word is a possessive and it ends in s, in some cases it has some an apostrophe and in some cases it has an extra s?

I would do a google search, but I can't distill my query down to simple search terms

I would generally as a rule, I would put just an apostrophe, but on a recent reading of the Iliad

it would be Zeus's shield, but Zeus is Cronus' son. Why does Zeus have an extra s?

Red358407 Oct 2013 10:57 p.m. PST

I'm pretty sure we were taught that the "correct" way to do it was to add the apostrophe at the end (as in Cronus' rather than Cronus's) but to be honest I'm long past caring. grin

TNE230007 Oct 2013 11:26 p.m. PST


Zeus's shield
Cronus' son
both are acceptable
just be consistent

Mrs Pumblechook Inactive Member07 Oct 2013 11:49 p.m. PST

the translation I used wasn't consistent. But that is the least of my problems with his translation. I was basing hi trans for a scholarly work, and was then going to back track to the great. But they didn't match up in line numbers, or descriptor. he was rather free. Now I have another reason to dislike him

skippy0001 Supporting Member of TMP08 Oct 2013 6:22 a.m. PST

No, it should be Zeus' Shield…Grammar taught by nuns. Anything ending in S gets just the apostrophe. Brit/Canadian might be different. Per Sister Edith, Mary Louis, Natale and Angela, 5th-7th grade, after school while I was writing on the blackboard over and over and over and over…

Personal logo John the OFM Supporting Member of TMP08 Oct 2013 7:35 a.m. PST

No, it should be Zeus' Shield…Grammar taught by nuns.

MY nuns taught the opposite.
I spell it the way I pronounce it, which is "Zeus's shield".
"Zeus' shield" doe not SOUND possessive.

Personal logo John the OFM Supporting Member of TMP08 Oct 2013 7:36 a.m. PST

Mrs. P, it sounds like you paper will have a LOT of "sic" in it.

Personal logo Parzival Supporting Member of TMP08 Oct 2013 12:05 p.m. PST

No, it should be Zeus' Shield…Grammar taught by nuns. Anything ending in S gets just the apostrophe.

Nope. The Elements of Style by Strunk and White is the standard which writers go by. According to Mssrs. Strunk and White, only the proper names Jesus and Moses take the ' at the end without an additional s. All other singular nouns or names ending in s require the 's construction. Plural nouns ending in s take the ' with no additional s.

Jesus' sandals, Moses' staff, Mr. Jones's car (but the Joneses' house), Zeus's shield, Cronus's son, the horses' pasture.

Easy enough— if it's singular and not Jesus or Moses, use 's.

Of course, all of the above is based on the assumption that any rule in this case really exists. Perhaps the better default is simply whether singular or not, regardless of whether it's already a name ending in s. (After all, I doubt Mr. Strunk's rule, though derived from centuries of usage, is meant to apply to a baseball player named Jesus, or Grandma Moses of the famous paintings…)

Mrs Pumblechook Inactive Member08 Oct 2013 3:46 p.m. PST

totally changed my paper, at the last minute, to have to duplicate ALL my readings of sources would have been to much. It is my last semester and my last essay, and I wanted to do scholarship I am proud.

my latest efforts will now be on whether Mavia existed and the significance of her revolt.

I was just think about the possessive in the shower (where I do my best thinking), I think it depends on the sound the last 's' makes

so it would be Cronos' son, but Cronus's son, the vowel preceding governs whether our 's' is a z sound or a s

jpattern2 Inactive Member08 Oct 2013 4:39 p.m. PST

Parzival quoted Strunk & White before I could. Only Jesus and Moses get the apostrophe without an S.

Although, personally, I'd bend the rule for any and all deities. Fair is fair . . .

Personal logo John the OFM Supporting Member of TMP08 Oct 2013 5:23 p.m. PST

What about Jesus Moses, the shortstop for the Reds?
Whole lot of nouns in that above sentence. grin

skippy0001 Supporting Member of TMP08 Oct 2013 5:34 p.m. PST

I stayed after school for nothing?!!…I'm suing the Vatican!!!

TNE230008 Oct 2013 9:54 p.m. PST

"What about Jesus Moses, the shortstop for the Reds?"

in the spirit of the thread
shouldn't that be

What about the Reds' shortstop Jesus Moses?

Personal logo John the OFM Supporting Member of TMP10 Oct 2013 7:52 a.m. PST

You're right.

What about the Reds' shortstop Jesus Moses' throw to first?


Last Hussar11 Nov 2013 2:37 p.m. PST

The Elements of Style by Strunk and White is the standard which writers go by

Only those that don't care about being correct.

In criticizing The Elements of Style, Geoffrey Pullum, professor of linguistics at Edinburgh University, and co-author of The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language (2002), said that:
The book's toxic mix of purism, atavism, and personal eccentricity is not underpinned by a proper grounding in English grammar. It is often so misguided that the authors appear not to notice their own egregious flouting of its own rules… It's sad. Several generations of college students learned their grammar from the uninformed bossiness of Strunk and White, and the result is a nation of educated people who know they feel vaguely anxious and insecure whenever they write however or than me or was or which, but can't tell you why.

The Queen's English is the base. Anything else is a dialect. Thus the phrase 'British English' is superfluous.

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