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Interestingly, the possessive pronoun ITS was a relatively late addition to the language; it doesn't appear in the King James Version (1611) of the Bible, for instance. The question of whether ITS should contain an apostrophe wasn't settled till the early 19th century, and both forms were used before then.

(For example, in some editions of Jane Austen's Pride & Prejudice there are formations such as: "neither the letter nor it's writer were in any degree interesting".)
I need a specific question answered. It would have to do with the pronunciation of Jesus'. It is used to show possession, "Jesus' disciples". Could anyone help?
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I think the answer is back up this thread somewhere, but I'll reiterate-- or at least give the popular (?!) view: Jesus, Socrates, Moses, and other Biblical and Classical individuals are traditionally exempt from the general modern rule to add 's to anything singular. Hence: Moses' basket, Socrates' hemlock, Jesus' disciples, but Harris's jacket, James's pet aardvark.

(Finnegans Wake is of course unique.)

Oops! I see I did not answer your question! Pronounce it as if the 's were there: /dzi:z?s?z/.

PS: How about registering, CL, as long as you're joining in so frequently, and leaving the grey ranks of anonymity? You're more than welcome.
Actually this is the first time I have posted. I am a novice, thank you for the answer.

I also found an opinion in the The Chicago Manual of Style. "Jesus' (along with Moses' and names of more than one syllable with an unaccented ending pronounced eez) is among the traditional exceptions to the general rule for forming the possessive. There is no extra "s"—spelled or pronounced." The Chicago Manual notes that this practice began "for reasons of euphony."

I don't have access to the manual but found it quoted on the NC State web site. http://www.ncsu.edu/ncsu/grammar/Apostro3.html
The name of the retail store is Benetton. Would it be correct to say, I am going to Benettons'.
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Hi CL,

Just 'I'm going to Benetton'-- it's not a family name ( to my knowledge, and is certainly not advertised as such), and is not plural.

You can say, of course, whatever you wish, so long as it is understood by your listener.
You should put the apostrophe before the -s, like this,

I am going to Benetton's department store.
I am going to Benetton's.


I am going to Mary's house.
I am going to Mary's.

I am going to Casi's house.
I am going to Casi's.

Also, if the name ends in an -s, then you don't have to add an -s. All you have to add is an apostrophe, like this,

I am going to Mr. Jones' house.
I am going to Mr. Jones'.

I am going to Jess' house.
I am going to Jess'.

All the best,
I am continually stunned by the fact that so few sources seem to realise the logic that lies behind their own rules. I have heard whacky rules that suggests that ancient or biblical names ending with s are exceptions, or words of more than one syllable ending with s.

The 'eez' thing here is at least in the right ballpark. The rule should be that if the final s is immediately preceded by a vowel with no other consonant in between, it's a candidate for dropping the extra s. So JesUs is a candidate, as is SocratEs, but not JAmes, whose final vowel sound is the A, not the E, and has an M between it and the S.

That's not the entire story, though, inasmuch as it's really the awkwardness of pronunciation which should tell you. James's doesn't sound awkward at all (it has a 'ziz' sound). Jesus's does ('zuzz-ziz'). Morris's seems to be okay, though.
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My wife and I own a Men's and Women's Clothing boutique. Our last name is Van Dalfsen. Because we both together own the business, and because we are implying that the store belongs to us (possessive), is Van Dalfsen's correct?

Reason being we had a press release the other day and a former english teacher called me to tell me that she thought Van Dalfsen's is incorrect if the store belongs equally to my wife and I.
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