Sunday, January 31, 2010

Dealing with apostrophes

Someone asked about thanking people for a donation in someone's name. Do you thank them for a donation in NAME'S memory or in NAMES' memory. This is a great question that has to do with apostrophes.

Apostrophes are usually used for two things - to create contractions (Mary's not here) and to show possession (this is Mary's book). The question about a donation has to do with possession. In other words, we are talking about somebody's memory. If it is the memory of one person, then the apostrophe goes right after the person's name (MARY'S). If there are several people (let's say a family), then you put their name in the plural form and then place the apostrophe after that (the WILSONS' memory).

The easy rule to remember is that if something belongs to one, then apostrophe comes after that one (Mary); if something belongs to many, then apostrophe comes after the many (Wilsons).

Thank you for the question.

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