Grammar Matters: Plural Possessive


It amazes us every time we find advertising with simple grammar errors. It usually triggers a saying we’re fond of around the agency, “Grammar is not an opinion.” Today’s Grammar Matters blog focuses on plural possessive.

ISSUE: Where to put the apostrophe?

We often see an apostrophe misplaced when something is “plural possessive,” meaning when a noun is more than one (plural) and “owns” something (possessive). When it is plural possessive, the apostrophe belongs after the “s.” For example, the “boys’ toys” means the toys belong to more than one boy. (If the toys belonged to only one boy, the apostrophe would be placed before the “s” – the “boy’s toys.”)

EXAMPLES: the bartenders’ tips (more than one bartender who “own” the tips), the dogs’ bowl (more than one dog sharing one bowl), a teachers’ conference (multiple teachers – probably discussing proper grammar)

EXCEPTION: If the plural noun does not end in “s,” then the possessive is indicated with an apostrophe and an “s.” For example, “Where is the women’s room?”

QUICK TIP: Ask yourself 2 questions: 1) “Are there more than one of these?” and 2) “Do they own something?” If the answer is yes to both questions, it’s plural possessive; and the apostrophe belongs after the “s.”

We hope this agency’s tip relieves clients’ concerns about reviewing their marketing agencies’ copy. #showlovetotheapostrophe