Subject: Plural and Possessive Forms with Names Ending in y

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Plural and Possessive Forms with Names Ending in y

How do you form the plural of a proper noun that ends in y such as Murphy? Should you change the name to Murphies? Given how other English words ending in y form their plurals, you would think so.

puppy / puppies
army / armies
supply / supplies

However, proper nouns are not pluralized the same way as common nouns are.

Rule: Do not change the spelling of a name to make it plural. Instead, just add s.

Example: I visited the Murphys last weekend.

Example: We have two Zacharys in our office.

What if you want to show possession with a name that ends in y?

Rule: To show singular possession, use the apostrophe and then the s.

Example: I petted Mrs. Murphy’s cat.

Rule: To show plural possession, make the proper noun plural first, then use the apostrophe.

Example: I petted the Murphys’ cat.

Example: I visited the Murphys’ store on Main Street.

Rule: To show the plural of a name that ends in s, ch, or z, add es.

Examples: The Sanchezes will be over soon. The Thomases moved away.

Due to the E-Newsletter's large readership, we are unable to respond to individual English usage questions.

Pop Quiz

Scroll down to view answers.

1. I wish I had known the Kennedys/Kennedies/Kennedy’s better.

2. I know three Mary’s/Marys who live in Bangkok.

3. Mary’s/Marys dog is very friendly.

4. If the Kennedies’/Kennedys’/Kennedy’s home comes up for sale, I will buy it.

5. If Mrs. Kennedys’/Kennedy’s home comes up for sale, I will buy it.

6. Are the Church’es/Churches/Churche’s your friends?

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Pop Quiz Answers

1. Kennedys

2. Marys

3. Mary’s

4. Kennedys’

5. Kennedy’s

6. Churches


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