Possessives and Attributives
Q. How does one make the following names possessive (and all first names that end in “s”)? James, Iris.
Q. I somewhat often find myself struggling to find a grammatical construct for adding information about a possessive, particularly where the additional information is nonsubstantive enough that I don’t want to dedicate an entire sentence to presenting it. An example is: “The school’s, which is across the street, bell rings at three o’clock.” I expect that the answer is to change my phrasing. If anyone can guide me out of this desperate quandary, I’m quite certain that it’s my heroes at the CMOS.
Q. A friend and I were looking at a poster that read “guys apartment.” I believe it should read “guys’ apartment.” She claims that it should read “guys’s apartment” and that the CMOS specifically gives the example of “guys’s” to make “guys” possessive. I looked through every section on possessives and did not find the word “guys’s” or any rule that would make this correct. Some people say “you guys’s apartment”—did I overlook the word “guys’s” as used in the attributive position? (I don’t think I did.)
Q. The information posted on the Possessives and Attributives web page comes close to answering my question, but I would appreciate a more detailed explanation: Did we have dinner at the Smiths or at the Smiths’? I am tempted to omit the apostrophe if I consider the preposition at equivalent to German bei + dative plural, French chez, Italian da, etc. But if “at the Smiths’” is shorthand for “at the Smiths’ house,” perhaps I need an apostrophe. Is Smiths functioning as a genitive or an attributive adjective? What if, instead of Smiths, I refer to a group of people (residents, occupants) by some other word, e.g., We had dinner at the neighbors, Canadians, etc.?
Q. The following sentences were written by a student. “The three of us went to the Rangers’ hockey game. The leprechaun is the Celtics’ mascot.” Are apostrophes needed or do the sentences contain attributive nouns?
Q. I am proofing a training manual. It’s labeled “Participant’s Manual.” Shouldn’t it be “Participants’ Manual”? Thanks.
Q. Is there an acceptable way to form the possessive of words such as Macy’s and Sotheby’s? Sometimes rewording to avoid the possessive results in less felicitous writing.
Q. When referring to the house belonging to my wife and me, I have trouble deciding between “Libby and my house” or “Libby’s and my house.” Which is correct?
Q. What are the rules surrounding the use of fiction and nonfiction and fictional and nonfictional? I know the former are nouns and the latter adjectives, but can you say “a fiction passage”? I suspect not—though I hear it all the time.
Q. In section 6.23 of the 16th edition, the following example is used to illustrate an appositive with a comma: “Ursula’s son, Clifford, had been a student of Norman Maclean’s.” I know that the usage displayed in the last three words of the sentence has become mainstream, but surely it has not become correct?