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Grammar Repair Shop: Possessive style

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Problem: Phyllis Nagy, Orlando, Fla., asked about the spelling of the possessive "boss's."

"I'm under the impression that 'apostrophe "s"' is unnecessary when a word ends with an 's' and that boss' denotes the possessive without the extra 's.' Please clarify."

Lesson: The rules governing the possessive forms of singular nouns ending in an "s" sound generally rely on whether you pronounce another syllable when you form the possessive. If you pronounce it, you write 's. Example: "The boss's schedule."

If adding another syllable would be awkward to pronounce, use only the apostrophe. Example: "The Smiths' warehouse."

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