Monday, May 7, 2007

The Grammar Charm of the Day

Possessive and Plural Possessive

So what’s the deal with possessives? Don’t you always just add an apostrophe? Yes, this is true; however, if the word ends in “s” or if it is plural, the position of the apostrophe will change.

In general, add an apostrophe (‘) and "s” if you are making a singular noun possessive. (See previous grammar charm for this rule)

The exception is when the noun ends in “s,” for which there are two possibilities.
For example:
• Severus’s potions are in the cupboard. (
• Severus’ potions are in the cupboard.
• Albus’s pensive is in his office. (
• Albus’ pensive is in his office.

Why the ambiguity of this rule? We’re not quite sure, but it most assuredly will soon go under investigation of forgotten theories at our museum. So far we have found one really archaic rule that makes no sense. For more on this subject please see our forgotten theories section.

Note that the confusing part of this rule is when a noun is plural possessive the apostrophe (‘) also goes after the “s.” (In normal English that means the name refers to more than one person and shows collective ownership.)
• The Gryffindors’ house robes, the house-elves are mending.
• The students’ wands are poised and ready.

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