Are you confused about how to show the plural and the possessive of certain names? Maybe you know to write I met the Smiths, I drove Brenda Smith’s Ferrari, and I visited the Smiths’ house. But what if the name is Sanchez or Church or Williams?
Rule: To show the plural of a name that ends with a ch, s, or z sound, add es. If a name ends in ch, but is pronounced with a hard k sound, its plural will require s, rather than es.
The Sanchezes will be over soon.
The Thomases moved away.
The Churches have arrived but the Bohmbachs are running late.
Rule: To show singular possession of a name ending in ch, add ’s on the end of the name.
Harry Birch’s house
Rule: To show singular possession of a name ending in s or z, some writers add just an apostrophe. Others also add another s. See Rules 1b and 1c of Apostrophes for more discussion.
Bill Williams’ car OR Bill Williams’s car
Mrs. Sanchez’s children
Rule: To show plural possession of a name ending in s, ch, or z, form the plural first; then immediately use the apostrophe.
the Williamses’ car
the Birches’ house
the Sanchezes’ children
Choose the correct proper noun in each sentence below. The original proper noun is in parentheses.
1. I’m going to marry Ms. Straus’/Strauses’/Straus’s daughter. (Straus)
2. The Ortiz’/Ortizes’/Ortiz’s dog bit the mailman. (Ortiz)
3. My son can’t seem to get enough of Sandi Finches/Finches’/Finch’s fried chicken. (Finch)
4. The Ames/Amess/Ameses are coming home from vacation tomorrow. (Ames)
Pop Quiz Answers
1. I’m going to marry Ms. Straus’s daughter. (OR Ms. Straus’ daughter)
2. The Ortizes’ dog bit the mailman.
3. My son can’t seem to get enough of Sandi Finch’s fried chicken.
4. The Ameses are coming home from vacation tomorrow.
Posted on Tuesday, July 28, 2009, at 9:17 am
If you wish to respond to another reader's question or comment, please click its corresponding "REPLY" button. If the article or the existing discussions do not address a thought or question you have on the subject, please use the "Comment" box at the bottom of this page.253 Comments on Apostrophes with Names Ending in s, ch, or z