Shouldn't "Bridget Jones's Diary" be "Bridget Jones' Diary"?

Don Black

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Isn't it a grammatical faux-pas to have an "'s" hanging off of a word ending with an "s"? I'm sorry .. it's just been bugging me. =)
 

Jeff Ulmer

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There prolly not using proper grammer for they're titles. I spose it could be a mistake.

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[Edited last by Jeff Ulmer on November 05, 2001 at 11:56 AM]
 

Chad R

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You add the apostophe after the 's' when the word is plural and you want to make it possessive. For instance, "that is the cats' litterbox" -- when you have several cats in the house. Bridget Jones is a singular, so it would be correct to add the extra 's' to her name since she possesses the diary.
 

Russ Lucas

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Yes. It is actually correct. Rule 1 in Strunk and White's The Elements of Style (a well-respected English style book) states that to make any singular noun possessive (even one that ends in "s"), you add an apostrophe and "s."
You may guess that I had reason to find the answer to this question fairly early.
 

Rob FM

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R
Correct you are:
Russ's Rules follow the Lucas's Mantra of adding S's.



~Rob M.
 

TimDoss

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I also was always taught that it should not have that
trailing "s" when the word already ends in one.
 

Janna S

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There are exceptions to "add apostrophe and s." Even the minimalist Strunk & White acknowledge some - for example, ancient proper names [Moses', Jesus'} and some now obscure turns of phrase ("for righteousness' sake").
Wordier, less hallowed, but still respectable authorities suggest pronunciation as a key. If you would not pronounce the possessive "s" then do not add it. Examples: "Los Angeles' freeways." In truth, many invert such phrases to avoid sibilance ("the freeways of Los Angeles").
Apparently Helen Fielding follows the S/W short rule, pronounces the second s, or both.
This is a nice dilemma, because there is reasonable support for either choice.
[Edited last by Janna S on November 05, 2001 at 03:22 PM]
 

Joseph DeMartino

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If you would not pronounce the possessive "s" then do not add it. Examples: "Los Angeles' freeways." In truth, many invert such phrases to avoid sibilance ("the freeways of Los Angeles").
That's just a concession to those who are lazy or who "don't like the sound" of pronouncing the final "s". In fact you should pronounce the possessive of Los Angeles as "Los Angelessez", exactly as you pronounce the possessive of New York as "New Yorkz". That's the only way you make it clear that it is as possessive. In other words, the pronunciation "rule" is being used to justify the spelling mistake, when it is also a mistake.

The house that belongs to the Jones family is properly "the Jones's house", not "the Jones' house." Similarly more than one Jones would be referred to as "the Joneses", as in "keeping up with." If the rule is consistent with the plural there is no reason to make an exception for the possessive.

What makes the Bridget Jones thing stand out is that it is a rare example of someone getting it right. In America, especially, sloppy usage has become so common (notably among those who have influence and should know better, like teachers and broadcasters) that correct English looks and sounds odd to us.

Regards,

Joe
 

mdean

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The Chicago Manual of Style agrees, it is correct.
It rules ... "the general rule covers proper names as well as common [names], including most names of any length ending in sibilants: Burns's poems, Marx's theories, the Rosses' and Williamses' lands, the Joneses' reputation."
On the other hand, "names of more than one syllable with an unaccented ending pronounced [italics] eez [italics] form ... category of exceptions. Many Greek and hellinized names fit this pattern. For reasons of euphony the possesive [italics] s [italics] is seldom added to such names: Euripides' plays, Demonsthenes' orations, Ramses' tombs, Xerxes' army," etc.
So, it's Bridget Jones's Diary (she's English); but, it Ramses' tombs (not Greek, but hellenized).

[Edited last by mdean on November 05, 2001 at 05:07 PM]
[Edited last by mdean on November 05, 2001 at 05:09 PM]
[Edited last by mdean on November 05, 2001 at 05:10 PM]
[Edited last by mdean on November 05, 2001 at 05:20 PM]
 

JamesMH

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I was taught that you can either put the extra 's' or leave it off, they are both correct.
The same way that grey and gray are both correct.
The word that bugs me the most is 'gotten' . . . aaghhh!
People then start to say boughten and other stupid words . .
 

Joseph DeMartino

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Actually "boughten" and the like did used to be "legitimate" words, and simply fell out of style. "Gotten" is a survival of the form, and is quite acceptable if used correctly. There are a number of such words that survive despite related forms having disappeared.
We still use "therefore" to mean "for this reason" in some contexts and "because" in others, but we no longer use "wherefore" at all, much less in its original meaning of "why?" or "for what reason?" For this reason generations of high school Juliets have peered into the distance searching for their lovers while intoning "Wherefore art thou Romeo?" with the wrong emphasis entirely. They are blissfully unaware that they are supposed to be talking to themselves, meditating on the cruel fate that gave him the name of "Romeo", marking him as a Montague, and therefore Juliet's enemy, as opposed to any other name that would let their love flourish. In other words, "Why did you have to be called Romeo (Montague)?", not "Where are you, Romeo?" The latter question makes no sense since the whole point of the balcony scene is that it begins as her soliliquy and she has no idea that he is watching her until he speaks. But I digress...

Regards,
Joe
 

Dana Fillhart

Supporting Actor
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Feb 8, 1999
Messages
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Now, if only we can get people on this forum to use "its" and "it's" properly...I might be able to keep a few hairs left in my head before 40

("Its" is properly used when it's not a contraction, but rather when its form appears as a possesive. "It's" is used when it's necessary to contract "it is", but not when its usage implies possession. Got "it"?
)
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andrew markworthy

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According to the Brit style manuals, there is an equally valid case for both sides. The virtue in adding the extra 's' is that it makes everything unambiguous, but you pay the price that it looks clumsy. Personally, I tend to add the extra 's' in writing, but don't pronounce it in speech.
 

Nick Sievers

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I was always taught never to add 's' I used to do it when I was a kid until my teacher taught me otherwise as my last name is "Sievers" I had to do it a lot.
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-Nick Sievers
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[Edited last by Nick_S on November 06, 2001 at 06:13 AM]
 

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