The Apostrophe in People’s

I used the phrase “the people’s choice” in a post last week, and a couple of people thought the apostrophe was wrong. Their reasoning: people is a plural word, and therefore the apostrophe is supposed to go after the “s.” Isn’t that right?

No. The before-the-s, after-the-s rule is guaranteed to get you into trouble. I wish books would drop that explanation.

Here’s the problem: there are exceptions: men’s, women’s, children’s, and people’s. I like rules that work 100% of the time. No exceptions. So here goes:

Spell the word. Put the apostrophe after the last letter.

people

The last letter is “e.” So: people’s.

You can see more applications of this handy rule by clicking here.

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2 thoughts on “The Apostrophe in People’s

  1. AvatarDarrell Turner

    That’s a wonderful explanation, Jean. I have used the traditional method of teaching the difference between single and plural possessives for apostrophe use, but your method is much simpler.

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