It’s not editors’ rules

There are rules to writing that we all try to follow so that we communicate clearly and so that we don’t look like idiots to our readers. These are not editors’ rules; they are language rules. And there’s one that’s just been broken on Yahoo! Style:

The plural of parent is parents; the possessive of parents is parents’. I think that means that parents’s is the singular possessive of the plural parents. Or maybe it just means the writer has no idea what she’s doing.

Hedging her bets

Not sure how to form the possessive of kids? Not sure if the apostrophe goes before or after the S? Do what the writer for Yahoo! Style did and hedge your bets: Put the apostrophe before and after it:

What if there were triplets?

If the possessive of single is single’s, and the possessive of twins is twins’s (at least according to Yahoo! Style), is the  possessive of triplet, triplets’s’s?

You have no idea what to do with it, do you?

The Yahoo! Beauty writer responsible for this has no idea when to use an apostrophe:

Here’s a hint, don’t use it in a plural noun and put it in a possessive noun. Now ask a colleague to explain what a noun is.

Editor’s worst punctuation moment

A Yahoo! Style editor’s worst punctuation moment may have come when he or she omitted a teensy apostrophe in what should be a possessive:

beyonces-sty-hp

Ladies first

I guess elementary schools don’t teach the same things nowadays that they did when I was a youngster. Of course, that was many, many decades ago, but I thought there were some subjects that were eternal. Like how to form the plural of nouns. Judging from this excerpt from Yahoo! Style, schools are neglecting that bit of knowledge — or the writer was playing hooky that day:

ladies-room-sty

The possessive plural of lady is ladies’. It follows a simple rule: Form the plural of the noun and if it ends in S, add an apostrophe. So, it’s idiots’ and dummies’. If the plural doesn’t end in S, add an apostrophe and S: So women’s, children’s, and alumni’s are correct.

Readers’ confusion

The writer of this article on Yahoo! Style is obviously confused. Very confused:

voterss-sty

Maybe she didn’t know if there was one voter’s ensembles or many voters’ ensembles, so she mashed them together and created voters’s ensembles. And readers’ confusion.

 

It’s a democratic process, but the Democratic party

Hillary Clinton is the Democratic nominee for the presidency, but you wouldn’t know it if you read this on Yahoo! Style:

democratic-clintonss-sty

As a common noun, democratic refers to a democracy or people in general. But if you’re referring to the political party in the U.S., it’s Democratic, with a big D.

Speaking of a big D, that’s the grade I’d give this writer for coming up with Clintons’s.  I’d be appalled if I hadn’t seen that error so often on Yahoo!. It seems Yahoo! writers (and their editors, if they have them) don’t know that the plural of Clinton is Clintons and the possessive of  Clintons is Clintons‘.

Friends’ and families’ faces fall

If well-educated editors overlooked this error on Yahoo! Style, their friends’ and families’ faces would fall to the floor:

friends-and-familys-sty

I’m assuming that the friends and families (there’s probably more than one family involved) have separated faces, so there needs to be an apostrophe after the S on both friends’ and families’.

When in doubt

When in doubt about forming the possessive of a word, just follow the example of this Yahoo! Style writer:

friendss-sty

Does the apostrophe go before the S? After the S? Unsure? Put it before and after! Turn your dilemma into dilemma-ade!

%d bloggers like this: