PDA

View Full Version : Parent's vs. Parents'


Patrick Nielsen Hayden
12 December 2017, 02:46 PM
Reunion is a joy to use, but there's a usage error in the "feasibility" feature that never stops distracting me. The phrase generated by Reunion, "was born before parent's marriage", should actually be "was born before parents' marriage", because marriages by definition involve two people. Am I wrong?

mjashby
12 December 2017, 03:44 PM
I believe you are absolutely correct as "parent's" can only ever be taken as meaning of one individual parent.

The dreaded "possessive apostrophe" in the English language traps so many people. Probably why so many other languages tend to avoid such problems!

Mervyn

romad
13 December 2017, 01:43 PM
Reunion is a joy to use, but there's a usage error in the "feasibility" feature that never stops distracting me. The phrase generated by Reunion, "was born before parent's marriage", should actually be "was born before parents' marriage", because marriages by definition involve two people. Am I wrong?

I think the reason "parent's" is used might be because that phrase can also refer to only one parent in a non-gender specific way.

Bob White
13 December 2017, 02:35 PM
In the case of plural nouns where the first noun ends with an "s", the apostrophe following the "s" is the correct usage. My source is paragraph 632 of the Gregg Reference Manual. (For those not familiar, this is a manual very widely used by secretaries, stenos, etc..)

romad
13 December 2017, 02:46 PM
My problem, Bob, is how to denote a possessive when a proper name ends with an "s" like mine!

edohmann
13 December 2017, 03:51 PM
My problem, Bob, is how to denote a possessive when a proper name ends with an "s" like mine!

Apostrophe after the S. My wife's name is Janis so I run into that quite often as well.

Bob White
14 December 2017, 03:39 PM
It would go after the "s" in Janis. The common situation. "Romad": Likewise if your name ends with an "s".

My comment related to plural nouns -- not proper names. :)

Michael Talibard
15 December 2017, 03:45 AM
Been an English teacher all my life. With proper names ending in s, it was always Keats's poetry, and Janis's genealogy (write it like you say it). But sadly, 'no second s' is spreading like a plague, and so will become correct. That's normal, I'm afraid: as bad currency drives out good, so widespread errors win complete respectability.

Dennis J. Cunniff
15 December 2017, 04:06 AM
Been an English teacher all my life. With proper names ending in s, it was always Keats's poetry, and Janis's genealogy (write it like you say it). But sadly, 'no second s' is spreading like a plague, and so will become correct. That's normal, I'm afraid: as bad currency drives out good, so widespread errors win complete respectability.

I bow to your experience, but I would have thought it was going the other way. Traditionally biblical or classical names formed possessives with an apostrophe and no "s" (Jesus' sake, Achilles' heel), and nowadays you're likely to see Jesus's and Achilles's.

I guess there are a lot of ways to be wrong :)

Michael Talibard
15 December 2017, 04:24 AM
I'm not sure about Jesus, but 'Achilles heel' is a special case, an idiom, and often found without any apostrophe. The Wikipedia article does give it an apostrophe and no second s—so that's still 'write it like you say it'; but it also (correctly) includes "Achilles's invulnerability" and "Achilles's death." Sorry—I'll stop. Straying a bit too far from topic of how to use Reunion.

Dennis J. Cunniff
15 December 2017, 05:13 AM
I'm not sure about Jesus, but 'Achilles heel' is a special case, an idiom, and often found without any apostrophe. The Wikipedia article does give it an apostrophe and no second s—so that's still 'write it like you say it'; but it also (correctly) includes "Achilles's invulnerability" and "Achilles's death." Sorry—I'll stop. Straying a bit too far from topic of how to use Reunion.

Yes, "write it like you say it" is a whole 'nother kettle of fish. Or can of worms... :)

Bob White
15 December 2017, 01:43 PM
Been an English teacher all my life. With proper names ending in s, it was always Keats's poetry, and Janis's genealogy (write it like you say it). But sadly, 'no second s' is spreading like a plague, and so will become correct. That's normal, I'm afraid: as bad currency drives out good, so widespread errors win complete respectability.

Plus the differences between British and American preferences in usage! :)