Thursday, September 22, 2016

Possessives -- two people owning one or two items

I came across an interesting dilemma this week in reworking one of my books.  I wanted to write the following sentences:

Mark's the minister of Will's church and Eloise's church. (Will and Eloise go to the same church--they're married.)

Rebecca took Jenny's hand and Emily's hand.



But I didn't want to write them that way.  What should I have done?

Well, I looked it up and they're different types of possessions.  From Possessives, I found:

4.  A less-often faced decision involves the use of apostrophes where multiple owners are named. Where two or more people own one item together, place an apostrophe before an "s" only after the second-named person. For example:

However, when two or more people own two or more items separately, each individual's name should take the possessive form. For example:
Incorrect: Bill's and Mary's car was a lemon, leading them to seek rescission of their contract under the state's lemon law.
Correct: Bill and Mary's car was a lemon, leading them to seek rescission of their contract under the state's lemon law.
Incorrect: Joanne and Todd's cars were bought from the same dealer; both proved useless, even though Joanne's car was an import and Todd's was a domestic model.

Correct: Joanne's and Todd's cars were bought from the same dealer; both proved useless, even though Joanne's car was an import and Todd's was a domestic model. 


So, for my two examples, I should write:

Mark’s the minister at Will and Eloise’s church.   (Will and Eloise go to the same church.)

Rebecca took Jenny's and Emily's hands.

I never knew that before.  Interesting!

Have a great day!
SweetTale Books



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