Is it grammatically correct to use a noun-verb combination of a proper name ending in "s"?


Email Received:

I really like your Punctuation Guide. It is very helpful in determining plural & plural possessive forms of names and words ending in ďsĒ.

I assume it is grammatically correct to use a noun-verb combination of a proper name. So instead of saying that Theresa is going to the beach, it would be okay to say that Theresa's going to the beach.

But if the proper name ends in "s" then is it still gramatically correct to do this? For instance, instead of saying that Miles is going to the beach, can we say that Miles's going to the beach?


Tedís Response:

That is a good question. I believe that it is fine to combine a proper name with "'s" to form a noun-verb combination, such as Theresa's (Theresa is) or John's (John is). It certainly is common in speaking, and I think it is okay in writing as well.

It is the same as doing this with pronouns to make he's (he is), she's (she is), it's (it is), etc. In each case, the letter "i" in "is" is substituted by an apostrophe (').

However, I never have seen a proper noun ending in an "s" (like Miles or Amos) combined with the verb "is" to form a noun/verb combination ending in "'s" such as Miles's (Miles is) or Amos's (Amos is). I don't think I've ever used that form myself, other than as a possessive, and I don't think I've ever seen it anywhere except, possibly, in casual writing.

On my Apostrophe page, I do include proper nouns such as Ellisís and Jonesís. However, these are singular possessives. They are not examples of combining names ending in "s" with the verb "is" to form noun/verb combinations.


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