Sunday, August 10, 2008


The Washington Post has an editorial about two foreign nationals on death row in Texas. The editorial is titled: Texas's Disdain.

And refers to "Texas's death row".

According to the Texas Legislative Council Drafting Manual, that's incorrect. For possessives:
To form the possessive case of a singular noun that ends in "s," add an apostrophe and an "s" to the word. If a sibilant occurs before the final syllable, adding an apostrophe and an "s" would make the word awkward to pronounce. To avoid a triple sibilant in pronouncing the possessive form, add only an apostrophe:
the alumnus's books

the witness's answer

Texas' wildlife

Moses' guidance
Get with it, Washington Post!


That's unfair. The Elements of Style instructs to append apostrophe-s no matter what, and I'm positive there are almost as many variations on the rule as there are rule manuals.

By Blogger benzado, at 8/11/2008 11:00 AM  

Yeah, Strunk & White for me.

German, and Old English, indicate possessives with an -es ending. The -'s ending indicates the omitted e, just as the apostrophe in don't indicates an omitted o.

So, Texases -> Texas's is valid historically, and no harder to pronounce than horses.

Strunk & White make an exception for Jesus' which just goes to show.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8/12/2008 6:24 PM  

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