To use s’ or s’s


Is it, Idris’ sword, or Idris’s sword?

When the first edits came back from my editor and the apostrophes came both after and before an ‘S’ I nearly had a fit. Surely that’s not how you write it. I contacted him, and he explained it’s actually a matter of style. Say what? I briefly wondered how many other people struggled with this.  It reminds me of whether there’s one space after a period or two. But that is explained by the use of typewriters and modern computers. Is there really no definite answer to the use of an apostrophe after an ‘S’?

I did some research. Not that I disbelieved my editor, but I disbelieved him. Surely there is a more hard and fast rule? Surely the English language is not so fickle. But it turns out it is. You can use either.

One thing you must do though: be consistent. Whichever you choose, stick with it throughout the piece you’re writing.

So Idris has a sword, but it is Idris’s sword, unless you think it’s Idris’ sword! But it is never both Idris’s and Idris’ sword 🙂 I hope this makes you happy while I go and cry in the corner.


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