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Tips on Spelling

How to Make Most Nouns Plural

Copyright © 2001–2017 Lynette M. Smith

Just add s or es, as in dilemmas or businesses—no apostrophe. Only rarely is an apostrophe used, generally to show the plurals of individual letters that might otherwise be confused with other words.

Wrong: Have you any As or Is among your Scrabble tiles? [confusing, because As and Is are real words]

Right: Have you any A's or I's among your Scrabble tiles?

How to Make First or Last Names Plural or Possessive, and When to Use an Apostrophe

Copyright © 2000–2017 Lynette M. Smith

Some things that look wrong often are actually correct, especially with names. Here are examples of one style of proper spelling and punctuation:

Singular: Smith, Jones, Kennedy

Plural: Smiths, Joneses [the way you'd pronounce it], Kennedys

Singular possessive: Mr. Smith's house, Ms. Jones's house

Plural possessive: The Smiths' house, the Joneses' house [as you would pronounce it]

With names, an apostrophe is used only to show possession, never to show plurals. Here's a good way to remember how to spell possessive names:

First, decide if the name is singular or plural and spell it correctly.

Next, add an apostrophe to the end of the word you've just spelled.

Finally, add another s only if you would ordinarily pronounce that extra s when speaking the word. (Pronouncing that final s is a matter of style; choose the style that's most natural sounding to you, and be consistent in applying it.)

80 Common Layout Errors to Flag When Proofreading Book Interiors

layout errors   More Info

"This handbook is amazing. I am doing a great deal of formatting these days, and the words resonate with me. I have encountered many of the issues mentioned, and plan to buy the [paperback] book and keep it handy so I can help my clients by providing the best possible proofreading and formatting." —Judy Vorfeld

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