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Old 09-22-2007, 10:37 AM   #1
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Default Possessive apostrophes

I see that William Safire in his Sept. 23 “On Language” column in the New York Times (scroll down) is addressing the problem that often seems to arise when a name ending in s — Starbucks, say — needs to possess something.

A Georgetown University professor wrote in, quoting from a pamphlet with the phrase “Starbucks commitment to social responsibility,” prompting Safire to address this unfortunately common error (one that really annoys me).

It should be “Starbucks’s commitment,” of course. Many people think it sounds funny (Starbucks-zzz, as Safire puts it), but it is still correct.

Evidently the British do not have this problem. Safire says they instruct every newly appointed American ambassador to the Court of St. James’s to pronounce it as James-zzz.

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