Hi teachers,
Which one is correct?
a) Kenny and Bobbi are the septuplets’ teachers.
b) Kenny and Bobbi are the septuplets’s teachers.

Thanks in advance.
This issue has come up over the years, so that I put the following together a couple of years ago.

There are four ways to use the apostrophe to show ownership or belonging.
1. Add apostrophe 's' to the end of a singular noun that does not end in 's':
the children = the children's room
Karl Marx = Karl Marx's theories

2. Add apostrophe 's' to the end of a singular noun, even if it ends in 's'
Doris = Doris’s scarf
James = James's book
the boss = the boss's book
Charles Dickens = Charles Dickens’ novels
Mr. Jones = Mr. Jones's house
The princess = the princess's tiara

3. Add apostrophe 's' to the end of a plural noun that doesn’t end in 's'
children =the children’s bags
people = the People's Choice TV Award

4. If the plural noun ends in s, just add the apostrophe
two married friends who own a car = my friends’ car
John and Mary Harris own their own home = the Harris' home
ditto the Jones' home
one girl
two girls go to a school just for girls, so = it is a girls' school
one teacher
two teachers/all the teachers at the school share a common room, so= it is the teachers' common room
two princesses own tiaras, so = the princesses' tiaras

So - a septuplet (one of the seven children), the septuplets
and therefore:

Answer: Kenny and Bobbi are the septuplets’ teachers.


Assuming septuplet has a regular plural, septuplets, then just add an apostrophe to form the genitive.


The same principle applies to all (proper) nouns that take the genitive and have regular plurals ending in -s.

- DJB -
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Hi Terryxpress,
Thank YOU for your reply.
It really is a detailed and very good explanation!

 dokterjokkebrok's reply was promoted to an answer.
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Hi dokterjokkebrok,
Thank you so much for your reply too.
So all plural regular common nouns ending witn an '-s' we just add the apostrophe to form the genitive.

TerryxpressJohn and Mary Harris own their own home = the Harris' homeditto the Jones' home
The plural of Harris is Harrises, hence: the Harrises' home. (And of course the Joneses' home.)

I drew on authorative sources at the time of writing the above; and perhaps it is that style manuals such as Associative Press and others follow them, so as to avoid the eyeful that is Joneses' home.Emotion: smile

Mr. and Mrs. Jones are the Joneses. They own a home. It is
'the Jones' home', pronounced as: the Joneses' home.
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I see. I won't use the Jones' home, though, and it wouldn't be accepted if a student wrote it in a nationwide English exam in Finland. What prompted me to butt in was your advice to add just an apostrophe after a plural s. I always thought the s in Harris and Jones was not a plural s. If it were, the singular forms would be Harri and Jone.

Style manuals like the ones you mention prove that English is a colourful language and since it is spoken in so many countries, it is likely to remain that way.


Well, as a rule of thumb, always use 's except with plural nouns ending in -s.

James's (only apostrophe also possible, but for simplicity's sake, I'd use 's

but parents'

- DJB -
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