Possessives and Attributives
Q. My colleagues and I are debating a grammar issue. We read the grammar rules, but we are still unclear. Here is the sentence: “Your employees are the business’s most valuable assets.” Business is singular but it could be interpreted as plural. Which of the following is correct?
Your employees are the business’ most valuable assets.
Your employees are the business’s most valuable assets.
A. “The business’s most valuable assets” is correct because business is singular. (Businesses is the plural of business.) Actually, your other sentence is also technically correct (“Your employees are the business’ most valuable assets”), because in a practice that Chicago does not recommend, singular words that end in s are sometimes made possessive by adding only an apostrophe, without another s: James’ hat. (Please see CMOS 7.21.) CMOS recommends adding the s: your business’s assets, James’s hat.