Apostrophes in Names
Apostrophes and the Plurals of NamesDo not use an apostrophe to form the plural of a name. For example:
- The Smith's are in town.
- The Smiths are in town.
- Did you visit the Ford's yesterday?
- Did you visit the Fords yesterday?
- The Bates's will attend the party.
- The Bateses will attend the party.
- Can you ask the Alverez's to move their cars?
- Can you ask the Alverezes to move their cars?
For the Possessive Case, Treat a Plural Name Like Any Other Plural NounWhen an apostrophe is needed to show the possessive form of a plural family name (e.g., the Smiths, the Fords, the Bateses, the Alverezes), the name is treated just like any other plural noun that ends in "s." For example:
- The Smiths' cat has gone missing. (Smiths' is the possessive form of the plural proper noun Smiths.)
- Have you seen the Fords' new car? (Fords' is the possessive form of Fords.)
- The Bateses' holiday was ruined by the weather. (Bateses' is the possessive form of Bateses.)
- Take these scones to the Alverezes' house. (Alverezes' is the possessive form of Alverezes.)
The History of the Possessive ApostropheThe main function of the apostrophe is to replace a missing letter (e.g., aren't, don't). You might not have realized it, but this is related to the possessive apostrophe. (e.g., the Smiths' house, the Joneses' claim)
In old English, possession was shown by adding "es" to the noun regardless of whether it was singular or plural. For example:
- doges dinner
- dogses dinner
- childrenes dinner
- Sanchezes dinner
If you use this process today, you will be right every time. There are no exceptions.