Apostrophes after Z (with Examples)

Apostrophes after Z

This page is about whether to use 's (apostrophe s) or just ' (just an apostrophe) to show the possessive form of a noun that ends -z. In other words, it is about whether to write:

Gomez' attitude or Gomez's attitude

Forming the Possessive with a Noun Ending Z

Here is the answer:
Use 's to show the possessive form of a singular noun ending -z.
Therefore:
  • Gomez' attitude
  • Gomez's attitude
This question often arises when writers need to form a possessive from a surname ending -ez. For example:
  • Gomez's ball
  • Gonzalez's house
  • Gutierrez's brother
  • Hernandez's dog
  • Lopez's way
  • Perez's garden
(NB: With Hispanic surname, the suffix –ez means "descendant of.")

Some More Examples with an Apostrophe after Z

Here are some more examples of nouns ending z in the possessive case:
  • These are Dr. Sanchez's patients.
  • The questions are full of unpronounceable words because the quiz's real purpose is to embarrass the host.

Why Is There Confusion over Z's and Z'?

Confusion arises because the possessive form of singular nouns that end s (e.g., Moses, series, Wales) can be shown by adding 's or just '.

The general rule for those nouns is write their possessive forms how you would pronounce them. For example:
  • Jones' report is terrible.
  • (This is for those people who pronounce it Jones.)
  • Jones's report is terrible.
  • (This is for those people who pronounce it Jonesiz.)
With the possessive form of a noun that ends in z, there is no choice. It will have the ziz sound at the end. Therefore, the -z's ending is needed to tell readers how to pronounce it.

Read more about the possessive forms of singular nouns ending s.

See Also

Using apostrophes Apostrophes for possession Apostrophe placement rules Apostrophe after s Apostrophe before s Apostrophes for awkward plurals Apostrophes after acronyms and abbreviations Apostrophes in contractions Apostrophes in expressions like 2 years' pay and a day's notice Apostrophes used incorrectly for plurals Apostrophe exercises Apostrophes in names Apostrophe misuse Apostrophes in contractions Using brackets and parentheses Using colons Using commas Using dashes Using hyphens Using quotation marks Using semicolons