Wordwatch Towers

A plain language guide to punctuation, grammar and writing well.

The possessive apostrophe. Part 3 – children’s toys

leave a comment »

Children in a Primary Education School in Paris
Image via Wikipedia

If you need some basic information about the possessive apostrophe, go to: The possessive apostrophe. Part 1 – the basics.

If you already know that stuff, you’re ready to look at where the possessive apostrophe is placed when dealing with words like ‘children’.

To be technical, ‘children’ is an irregular plural noun. In other words, you don’t stick an ‘s’ on the end of ‘child’ when you want to talk about more than one child. Instead, you use a completely different word: ‘children’.

Other irregular plural nouns include:

Women

Men

Mice

oxen

In all such cases, the possessive apostrophe is followed by an ‘s’, for example:

 The children’s meal was late.

You will see this written as “childrens” (no apostrophe) and “childrens'” (with an apostrophe after the ‘s’). Both of these are wrong.

Similarly, the following are correct:

The women’s complaints were ignored.

 The men’s work was very hard.

 The mice’s home was blocked up.

 The oxen’s owner had disappeared.

User-friendly information about punctuation

More writing guides

Advertisements

Your questions and comments are welcome.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: