Ask Me a Question

If you have a writing, grammar, style or punctuation question, send an e-mail message to curiouscase at sign hotmail dot com.

Add Your Own Criminal Sentence!

If you find a particularly terrible sentence somewhere, post it for all to see (go here and put it in the Comments section).

Monday, January 26, 2009

Poll Results 20

So, how many apostrophes are OK?

Any number: "Sarah’s daughter’s boyfriend’s mother's
dog's food" is fine. 18 (43%)
Three is the limit: "Sarah’s daughter’s boyfriend’s mother"
is fine. 3 (7%)
Two: "Sarah’s daughter’s boyfriend" is fine. 19 (46%)
One: "Sarah's daughter." 1 (2%)

I tend to agree with two; otherwise, it becomes way too cumbersome. If you want to indicate possessives of possessives, you could use of: "the mother of Sarah's daughter's boyfriend," but I still think that's cumbersome. Perhaps I should revise my opinion to one only.
I'm surprised that some of you would allow any number!


Angelica said...

I struggled with a similar apostrophe problem while creating our family calendar. I could not decide on the following (sharing the same birthday):
Diane Martin's and Diane Smith's Birthday

Or Diane and Diane's birthday

Which is correct?

Thanks for the helpful and informative blog.

The Sentence Sleuth said...

If they share something, they share the apostrophe. Please see CS 116 for more info.

M said...

I wish I could get my students to use apostrophes at all!