Proper Names

Q. We are in a quandary over the surname Humphries. Per Chicago, all proper names ending in s form the plural by adding es. Thus Humphrieses. I argue that Humphries is the same whether it’s one Humphries or many—that is how most of us say it, and this conforms to the way we treat other nouns ending in ies. This name is used hundreds of times in this particular novel, usually in dialogue, and often in the possessive, both singular and plural. Should the plural forms be Humphries and Humphries’, or Humphrieses and Humphrieses’? Help!

A. There are always exceptions to a rule, and hundreds of Humphrieses would weary any reader. Break the rule in the spirit of the exceptions at CMOS 7.11—or ask the author if the name can be changed to one more happily pluralized.