Thursday, June 18, 2015

Pluralization and Possessives for Words Ending in "S"



Pluralizing words that end in the letter “s” freaks people out. And it should. Because closely related to pluralizing words that end in the letter “s” is the indication of possession as well. More s’s are involved (yes, that’s the correct pluralization of “s”), along with apostrophes and special cases.

It’s not for the squeamish, but now that everyone’s a defacto writer by virtue of our digital tools, it’s important to comport oneself well in written communication. On Match.com, it will take you from a six to an eight, and on Facebook your ad hominem attacks and revilement of others’ political opinions will be far more clear and potentially hurtful.

The letter “s,” in words ending with them, are like mice: where there’s one, there are usually two. With words that end in two s’s, just add “es” and your troubles are over. “Passes,” “kisses,” and “brisses,” in that order, one would presume, can be your guideposts.

As to words with one “s,” simply add another “s” and then follow the last rule of adding “es.” In other words, the plurals of most words ending in “s” are going to end in “sses.” In today’s society, where everyone is covering their own asses, it is almost certain that you will be thrown under a bus socially, personally or professionally, and highly likely that you will be thrown under multiple busses multiple times, so it’s important for you to know that when pluralizing a word that ends in a single “s” like bus, you need to add a second “s” and the usual “es.”

Adding the second “s” is not true for proper names. You must keep up with the Joneses on this issue, otherwise the Joneses’ mastery over pluralization and possessive forms of words ending in “s” will obviate their grammar classes’ superiority over yours.

With possessives, just add ’s for the most part, though there is wild disagreement with proper names. I say this in Jesus’ name. Not in ISIS’ name. Or Ulysses’ name. This is my and AP’s preference. Some will suggest for consistency’s sake that you keep the ’s even in Jesus’s name.  I don’t think Jesus needs any help in this area, so I say leave off the extra “s.”