Talk:'s

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When referring to possessions of multiple people, the strictly correct form is with the possessive of each person, as in “Jack’s and Jill’s pails”. It is common to treat the pair of names as a noun phrase and to form its possessive instead, using only one ’s, as in “Jack and Jill’s pails”.

Are we sure this is correct? I thought quite the opposite was true, that it was strictly correct to append the -'s to the noun phrase as a whole but common to apply it to each member of the phrase. Of course there are times when multiple people separately possess plural objects, and then you'd be right to put an -'s on each. Remember: though -'s descends from English's old genitive case, it now functions more like a clitic, not a case ending. Xyzzyva 02:03, 4 July 2008 (UTC)

contraction of are[edit]

's is not a contraction of are! The use of 's where are should be expected is an erroneous usage and contraction of is. When one says, Where’s the table tennis balls? as in the example, this is short for Where is the table tennis balls? The form is is used because it is easier to contract than are,but 's is not a contraction of are. I am removing this definition. The contracted form of are is 're as in they're or we're. when 's is used as in the example, it is a contraction of is.

It is not a contraction of are, indeed, but it's often used to mean are where the full word is would not be. Changed accordingly. Equinox 11:40, 23 February 2010 (UTC)

Etym 2 Usage notes need clarification[edit]

I have just worked out the following to attempt to clarify the whole section. Please contribute your opinions, etc, before I replace this section of the current entry with the following (or a collaboratively improved version thereof). Thanks. --TyrS 00:22, 4 March 2010 (UTC)

Usage notes[edit]

Usage with words ending in “s” varies and can be confusing.

the dogs’ tails (whereas for singular 'dog': the dog's tail)
  • Irregular plurals with endings other than 's' (e.g. children) always take 's:
the children's voices
  • In current usage, the final “s” is sometimes dropped after proper names ending in “s”. This may reflect variations in pronunciation, or be an instance of (or case of confusion due to) the Biblical/classical name rule. In print, ambiguity can result, because s’ is also used to indicate a plural noun.
St. James's or St. James’
(Where, technically, St. James’ could be read to indicate more than one St. James.)
  • To remedy ambiguity or awkwardness in either speech or print, possessives can generally be recast using of the.
the tails of the dogs
the paths of St. James
  • When referring to possessions of multiple people (who don't share the same name) the strictly correct form is with the possessive of each person:
Jack's and Jill's pails
However, it is common to treat the pair of names as a noun phrase and to form its possessive instead, using only one 's:
Jack and Jill's pails

References[edit]

Inclusion of possessives in Wiktionary[edit]

This has been discussed in various places, but I was unable to find a list of where, so I thought I'd make one here. If anyone has a better location for it, please feel free to move it there (and leave a note here). -- 63.251.123.2 21:03, 23 May 2014 (UTC)

RFM discussion: October 2012–September 2014[edit]

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's#English

This should be moved to -'s, which is currently a redirect, for all senses. It's not expressed on its own, so as a clitic or suffix or whatever, it needs to be lemmatised with the hyphen. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 00:08, 8 October 2012 (UTC)

Support for the genitive; not sure for the contractions. — Ungoliant (Falai) 00:26, 8 October 2012 (UTC)
The contractions are only used as clitics and never on their own (except maybe in some obscure dialects). --WikiTiki89 (talk) 06:41, 9 October 2012 (UTC)
Move. (There may remain an English section at [['s]], because I'm reasonably sure that some senses of standalone 's meet the CFI as eye dialect — here's one use on b.g.c. — but the main entry belongs at [[-'s]].) —RuakhTALK 20:18, 9 October 2012 (UTC)

Also the following: [['ve]], [['m]], [['re]], [['d]], [['ll]], and maybe others I'm missing. --WikiTiki89 (talk) 08:28, 10 October 2012 (UTC)

Support 's, oppose the others as they are clitic forms separate words. —CodeCat 11:25, 10 October 2012 (UTC)
But don't we usually use hyphens for clitics? The hyphen merely shows that clitic should be attached to something and these "words" are very rarely found on their own. Like Ruakh said, the ones that are attestable on their own should remain but all the clitic forms should have their own entries with hyphens. --WikiTiki89 (talk) 11:32, 10 October 2012 (UTC)
For the record: move all of Wikitiki's as well. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 16:27, 3 November 2012 (UTC)
Don’t move. Since they are not suffixes but clitics, we don’t use a hyphen for them. It is because of the grammar. — TAKASUGI Shinji (talk) 04:04, 17 February 2014 (UTC)
I don't think the suffix/clitic distinction is the reason for the hyphen. The hyphen indicates that there is no space between it and what precedes it. --WikiTiki89 04:26, 17 February 2014 (UTC)
  • Expired with no action taken. --Dan Polansky (talk) 07:51, 27 September 2014 (UTC)


RFM discussion: October 2012–January 2015[edit]

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's#Dutch

The second part of 's#Dutch (not stuff like 's winters, but the senses with examples like Anna's or taxi's) ought to be moved to -'s, for the same reasons as #'s#English. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 00:08, 8 October 2012 (UTC)

Moved. - -sche (discuss) 09:12, 13 January 2015 (UTC)