Category: Possessives

Kinship Names: To Capitalize or Not to Capitalize?

Posted on Sunday, July 29, 2012, at 4:16 pm

Several readers have asked why kinship names, such as names of brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, etc., are sometimes capitalized and sometimes not. Let’s have a closer look. Rule 1: Capitalize a kinship name when it immediately precedes a personal name or is used alone, in place of a personal name. Examples Andy and …

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Its vs. It’s

Posted on Thursday, April 12, 2012, at 5:35 pm

Would you like to know the number one grammatical error? Hint: The word involved is small and it's contained in this sentence. That's right: its vs. it's Yet the two rules are actually quite easy to remember. Rule 1: When you mean it is or it has, use an apostrophe. Examples: It's a nice day. …

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Apostrophes with Names Ending in s, ch, or z

Posted on Tuesday, July 28, 2009, at 9:17 am

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 …

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Confusing Possessives

Posted on Thursday, December 11, 2008, at 7:00 pm

The Chicago Manual of Style lists the following holidays as singular possessives: Mother's Day, Father's Day, New Year's Eve, New Year's Day. Plural possessive is used for Presidents' Day. Your guess is as good as anyone's about Secretary's vs. Secretaries' vs. Secretaries Day and Boss's vs. Bosses' vs. Bosses Day. What would you do if …

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What Is a Gerund and Why Care?

Posted on Tuesday, February 13, 2007, at 6:00 pm

What is a gerund and why do you need to know? Maybe it would be better to answer the second part of the question first so that you have some motivation to identify gerunds. If you are able to pick the gerund(s) out in your sentence, you will avoid a grammar gaffe that often goes …

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