Apostrophe question when company name ends in an "S"

Discussion in 'General Business Forum' started by Onlyme123, Jul 10, 2019.

  1. Onlyme123

    Onlyme123 UKBF Contributor Free Member

    50 5
    Hi,

    I am wanting to write to a company that ends with an "S".

    I am wanting to say: "I interacted with some of Smiths's design team", however I'm not sure if it should be "Smiths's" or "Smiths'"

    Can anyone suggest the right way?

    Thanks!
     
    Posted: Jul 10, 2019 By: Onlyme123 Member since: Sep 21, 2010
    #1
  2. Gordon - Commercial Finance

    Gordon - Commercial Finance UKBF Ace Free Member

    1,385 360
    Smiths'
     
    Posted: Jul 10, 2019 By: Gordon - Commercial Finance Member since: Jun 26, 2017
    #2
  3. Darren_Ssc

    Darren_Ssc UKBF Regular Free Member

    342 65
    Your
     
    Posted: Jul 10, 2019 By: Darren_Ssc Member since: Mar 1, 2019
    #3
  4. TotalWebSolutions

    TotalWebSolutions UKBF Ace Full Member - Verified Business

    2,544 609
    "I interacted with some of Smiths' design team"

    :)
     
    Posted: Jul 10, 2019 By: TotalWebSolutions Member since: Sep 29, 2009
    #4
  5. Noah

    Noah UKBF Ace Free Member

    1,161 290
    I think you have a bigger problem with "interacted"; that smacks of pomposity, pretension, and waffle. Perhaps you should say what you actually did.
     
    Posted: Jul 10, 2019 By: Noah Member since: Sep 1, 2009
    #5
  6. Ray Newman

    Ray Newman UKBF Regular Staff Member

    105 5
    Writer/editor here.

    There's no firm rule for whether to add apostrophes to names ending in S -- Ed Balls's is as valid as Ed Balls'.

    The problem is, both ways kind of look wrong, and will probably be regarded as incorrect by about 50 per cent of people reading.

    With your specific example, though, I'd probably restructure the sentence to avoid the question altogether: "I interacted with some of the design team at Smiths."
     
    Posted: Jul 11, 2019 By: Ray Newman Member since: Dec 13, 2018
    #6
  7. BustersDogs

    BustersDogs UKBF Ace Free Member

    1,287 236
    "I interacted with some of the design team from Smiths"

    Always easier to avoid the problem. Otherwise I can recommend 'Lapsing into a Comma' as a good reference book.
     
    Posted: Jul 11, 2019 By: BustersDogs Member since: Jun 7, 2011
    #7
  8. Gordon - Commercial Finance

    Gordon - Commercial Finance UKBF Ace Free Member

    1,385 360
    Also "Eats, Shoots and Leaves" is a great book.
     
    Posted: Jul 11, 2019 By: Gordon - Commercial Finance Member since: Jun 26, 2017
    #8
  9. TheoNe

    TheoNe UKBF Regular Full Member

    135 12
    Whilst some companies and organisations do use use an apostrophe before the S - such as 'McDonald's' - the safer option would be to structure the sentence to avoid the problem altogether as advised by the previous contributors.

    I hope this helps.
     
    Posted: Jul 11, 2019 By: TheoNe Member since: Jul 6, 2019
    #9
  10. Ray Newman

    Ray Newman UKBF Regular Staff Member

    105 5
    If we're recommending references, my favourite (there's a copy next to my desk right now) is The New Oxford Style Manual. Answers about 80% of questions on grammar, punctuation and spelling that come up as I go about my work.

    And The Complete Plain Words by Sir Ernest Gowers is great for ridding yourself of all those ideas you picked up from teachers who said they were rules but which actually turn out to be nothing of the sort. (E.g., starting sentences with 'and' or 'but' is fine. You might not like it but it's not wrong.)
     
    Posted: Jul 11, 2019 By: Ray Newman Member since: Dec 13, 2018
    #10
  11. AstEver

    AstEver UKBF Contributor Free Member

    51 6
    It seems that for singular genitive forms both genitive case (with s) and zero genitive (with an apostrophe only) are used, with the former being more common.
    The OP's question is about a plural genitive word and the rule seems to be to use the zero genitive.
     
    Posted: Jul 11, 2019 By: AstEver Member since: Jan 10, 2019
    #11
  12. Newchodge

    Newchodge UKBF Big Shot Free Member

    12,066 3,121
    Isn't 'Smiths' a singular noun?
     
    Posted: Jul 11, 2019 By: Newchodge Member since: Nov 8, 2012
    #12
  13. Jeff FV

    Jeff FV UKBF Big Shot Staff Member

    3,580 1,685
    Surely McDonald’s are quite right to place the apostrophe before the s as they are stores/company “belonging”to Ronald McDonald. Hence it is apostrophe s as a possessive apostrophe.

    So even if the phrase were restricted, the apostrophe would still be needed if the company was McDonald’s

    “I intereacted with some of the staff at McDonald’s”
     
    Posted: Jul 11, 2019 By: Jeff FV Member since: Jan 10, 2009
    #13
  14. AstEver

    AstEver UKBF Contributor Free Member

    51 6
    Yes, you are right, in this example it is singular. We do not know the real company's name that the OP wants to use in the sentence.
    As an example, and it is a genuine question, if a company's name is THE SMITHS is it singular or plural?
     
    Posted: Jul 11, 2019 By: AstEver Member since: Jan 10, 2019
    #14
  15. Newchodge

    Newchodge UKBF Big Shot Free Member

    12,066 3,121
    Singular. There is no apostrophe, so the implication is that the founder's name was originally Smiths. Or the founders all shod horses and were therefore the Smiths and it is plural. Either way the genitive is The Smiths' or The Smiths's. As you would not usually say Smithses, I would go with Smiths'.
     
    Posted: Jul 11, 2019 By: Newchodge Member since: Nov 8, 2012
    #15
  16. AstEver

    AstEver UKBF Contributor Free Member

    51 6
    Thank you, Newchodge.
    Would you agree that there are two options:
    1. for singular: both The Smiths' and The Smiths's can be used,
    2. for plural: only The Smiths' can be used.
     
    Posted: Jul 11, 2019 By: AstEver Member since: Jan 10, 2019
    #16
  17. Newchodge

    Newchodge UKBF Big Shot Free Member

    12,066 3,121
    I don't think so. Why do you think you can't use Smiths's' for the plural?
     
    Posted: Jul 11, 2019 By: Newchodge Member since: Nov 8, 2012
    #17
  18. AstEver

    AstEver UKBF Contributor Free Member

    51 6
    Because for the regular plurals the 'zero genitive' is used, e.g.:
    singular: boy - boy's
    plural: boys - boys' (not: boys's)
     
    Posted: Jul 11, 2019 By: AstEver Member since: Jan 10, 2019
    #18
  19. Newchodge

    Newchodge UKBF Big Shot Free Member

    12,066 3,121
    I, personally, would never use s's for anything, however, if you are right then you have the problem of knowing whether the noun is plural or not.
     
    Posted: Jul 11, 2019 By: Newchodge Member since: Nov 8, 2012
    #19
  20. AstEver

    AstEver UKBF Contributor Free Member

    51 6
    I would, for example here:
    the boss's new secretary

    The problem of knowing whether a noun is plural or singular usually occurs with proper nouns, which is the case with the OP's question. Therefore, I would use Smiths', too :)
     
    Posted: Jul 11, 2019 By: AstEver Member since: Jan 10, 2019
    #20