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James' car or James's car? (British English)

English translation: James's car (preferred British spelling)

GLOSSARY ENTRY (DERIVED FROM QUESTION BELOW)
English term or phrase:James' car or James's car? (British English)
English translation:James's car (preferred British spelling)
Entered by: Kim Metzger

03:54 Apr 6, 2005
English to English translations [PRO]
Art/Literary - Linguistics / possessive case
English term or phrase: James' car or James's car? (British English)
If I have a Latvan personal name in a nominative case "Janis Liepins", how do I create a genetive case?
Would it be:
1) Janis Liepins' book
or
2) Janis Liepins's book?

This might seem a ridiculous question :), but I have dug many resources and after receiving contradictory answers from educated and cultured native English speakers my only option is to turn for help to our linguist community. :)
Thank you very much in advance.
tinageta
Local time: 17:35
James's for British English
Explanation:
Since you asked for British English usage.

For names ending in -s:
In speaking we add the sound /ª z/ to the name, but in writing it is possible to use either 's or just '. The 's form is more common. e.g. Thomas's book, James's shop.
http://www.edufind.com/english/grammar/Possesive1.cfm


--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 22 mins (2005-04-06 04:16:33 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

Another British source:

The Economist Style Guide
A P O S T R O P H E S

Use the normal possessive ending \'s after singular words or names that end in s: boss\'s, caucus\'s, Delors\'s, St James\'s, Jones\'s, Shanks\'s. Use it after plurals that do not end in s: children\'s, Frenchmen\'s, media\'s.
Use the ending s\' on plurals that end in s—Danes\', bosses\', Joneses\'—including plural names that take a singular verb, eg, Reuters\', Barclays\', Stewarts & Lloyds\', Salomon Brothers\'.

http://www.educa.rcanaria.es/usr/arengil/estil-ec/punctuatio...


--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 25 mins (2005-04-06 04:19:13 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

http://www.economist.com/research/styleGuide/index.cfm?page=...
Selected response from:

Kim Metzger
Mexico
Local time: 10:35
Grading comment
Thanks to everyone for the very valuable answers :)
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer



Summary of answers provided
4 +23James's for British English
Kim Metzger
4 +6James'
Michael Schubert
5 +1james' car
humbird


Discussion entries: 2





  

Answers


2 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +6
james' car or james's car? (british english)
James'


Explanation:
I believe both are correct, though I always prefer the shorter variant. Looks better, too. I am a speaker of US-EN, but I believe the rules are the same for UK-EN.

Michael Schubert
United States
Local time: 08:35
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 4

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Ghyslaine LE NAGARD: YES - 100%
0 min

agree  jennifer newsome (X)
42 mins

agree  Robert Donahue (X)
46 mins

agree  bigedsenior: Either way. It is a matter of style preference.
2 hrs

agree  Krisztina Lelik
2 hrs

agree  mportal: It is a matter of style preference. Sometimes people say James's (possibly to avoid confusion with Jane's), but write James', because it looks less clumsy. With the name you give, I would prefer Janis Leipins' book because of the consonant cluster.
4 hrs

agree  Rania KH
9 hrs

disagree  zaphod: It's simply wrong
10 hrs
  -> No, it's simply never that simple.

neutral  mstkwasa: Not in Britain, I'm afraid.
10 hrs
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)

4 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5 peer agreement (net): +1
james' car or james's car? (british english)
james' car


Explanation:
Whether British or American, this is the rule.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 10 mins (2005-04-06 04:04:47 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

Although, no matter what is the final consonant, just put \'s -- says Strunk and White\'s \"The Elements of Style\".

humbird
Native speaker of: Native in JapaneseJapanese, Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 4

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Carmen Schultz
47 mins

neutral  Tony M: Sorry, but it's not the 'RULE' --- it's just one way of doing it, but is if anything an exception to the 'normal' rule, which is why I personally don't favour this approach
3 hrs
  -> Hi Dusty, I corrected myself after consulting S & W.

neutral  Ian M-H (X): Two contradictory answers, backed up by no more than "this is the rule", and a proper noun with a lower case initial. What justifies confidence level 5?
3 hrs
  -> Obviously my confidence level was lowered. It is not the rule, it is an option (but not an opnion).

disagree  zaphod: No way. Poor usage
10 hrs

neutral  mstkwasa: No simple rule regarding apostrophe. James's [non-classical] but not Aristophanes's [classical]. The Oxford Guide to Style (Oxford, 2002) suggests a separation between non-classical and classical names.
11 hrs

agree  Lydia Foster: As a Hibero-English speaker for me this is the form I would use, although I would pronounce it with an extra 's' .
11 hrs
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15 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +23
james' car or james's car? (british english)
James's for British English


Explanation:
Since you asked for British English usage.

For names ending in -s:
In speaking we add the sound /ª z/ to the name, but in writing it is possible to use either 's or just '. The 's form is more common. e.g. Thomas's book, James's shop.
http://www.edufind.com/english/grammar/Possesive1.cfm


--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 22 mins (2005-04-06 04:16:33 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

Another British source:

The Economist Style Guide
A P O S T R O P H E S

Use the normal possessive ending \'s after singular words or names that end in s: boss\'s, caucus\'s, Delors\'s, St James\'s, Jones\'s, Shanks\'s. Use it after plurals that do not end in s: children\'s, Frenchmen\'s, media\'s.
Use the ending s\' on plurals that end in s—Danes\', bosses\', Joneses\'—including plural names that take a singular verb, eg, Reuters\', Barclays\', Stewarts & Lloyds\', Salomon Brothers\'.

http://www.educa.rcanaria.es/usr/arengil/estil-ec/punctuatio...


--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 25 mins (2005-04-06 04:19:13 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

http://www.economist.com/research/styleGuide/index.cfm?page=...

Kim Metzger
Mexico
Local time: 10:35
Works in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 187
Grading comment
Thanks to everyone for the very valuable answers :)

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Refugio: This is a good point. The extra s is pronounced, so why not write it?
55 mins

agree  Trans-Marie
1 hr

agree  Tsogt Gombosuren
1 hr

agree  jerrie
2 hrs

agree  danya: so long as final -s is a part of the root/stem, we need an apostrophe and one more -s to show the possessive (unlike final -s forming the plural)
2 hrs

agree  Michele Fauble
2 hrs

agree  Vicky Papaprodromou
3 hrs

agree  Tony M: Yes, this is the position taken by Oxford Usage too, and the way I prefer to do it myself; only 'antique' names MAY be regarded as an exception [St James' Palace...]
3 hrs

agree  vixen
3 hrs

agree  Ian M-H (X): For contemporary BE the Guardian style guide is always worth a look. http://www.guardian.co.uk/styleguide/page/0,5817,184844,00.h...
3 hrs

agree  Ken Cox: This has also been asked before on Proz; US usage favours omitting the second 's', but British usage is to follow the pronunciation.
3 hrs

agree  madak
4 hrs

agree  Michael Bailey
5 hrs

agree  Dr Sue Levy (X)
5 hrs

agree  npis: that's how elementary English is taught, even in the US.
5 hrs

agree  Saleh Chowdhury, Ph.D.
6 hrs

agree  Tehani
8 hrs

agree  humbird
9 hrs

agree  zaphod: Not just for British English, but for English as she is spoke everywhere
10 hrs

agree  mstkwasa: Definitely James's in British English. "Euphony is the overriding concern [...]" / "[u]se 's after non-classical or non-classizing personal names ending in an s or z sound." The Oxford Guide to Style (Oxford, 2002) pp.113-4
10 hrs

agree  Alp Berker
10 hrs

agree  Can Altinbay: Yes, yes, yes!
11 hrs

agree  Cristina Santos
17 hrs
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