Thursday, May 08, 2008

Arbiter of Apostrophes

The person in charge of producing the college's commencement program just asked me to serve as Arbiter of Apostrophes. A sentence describing the commencement speaker required editing to indicate possession, so one senior administrator added apostrophes thus:

John Lewis's, Georgia's House of Representatives

However, another administrator objected, insisting that it should look like this:

Lewis', Georgias'

What does the Arbiter of Apostrophes say?

The first version (Lewis's, Georgia's) consistently uses MLA style while the second follows AP Style for the name (Lewis') and no recognizable style for the state (Georgias'), unless we're referring to multiple states named Georgia.

I vote for consistency: stick with MLA even though AP aficionadoes will shriek. At least the person following MLA format got both apostrophes right!

1 comment:

jaywalke said...

Strunk says s's is never wrong, and Strunk is never wrong. So there.