When Jeff Anderson visited Lovett in February, he recommended The Chicago Manual of Style as a resource for teachers. You can now find a copy on the Reference shelf in the Dorothy Floyd Library!
Some fun facts on forming possessives from the Manual of Style as paraphrased and exemplified by Mrs. Nelson:
- The possessive of most singular nouns is formed by adding an apostrophe and an s. "Mrs. Nelson's class."
- The possessive of most plural nouns (except for irregulars) is formed by adding an apostrophe only. "The Nelsons' party."
- This rule applies to proper nouns and names, even those that end in s, and even classical names that end in the eez sound. "Socrates's class."
- But what about plain old nouns that end in s? They abide by the first rule. "Mrs. Nelson's class's favorite book is Weasel."
- Chicago does say there is an alternative practice of adding only an apostrophe to words that end in s. "Though easy to apply and economical, such usage disregards pronunciation and is therefore not recommended by Chicago" (pg 355). So you can say, "Mrs. Nelson's class' favorite book is Weasel." But it is not recommended.
As someone who loves to see a connection between sound and sense, I'm with Chicago on having apostrophe usage match pronunciation. Whether or not you agree, I invite you to come to the library and geek out with me over this grammatical tome.