One of the most asked questions we get is how to know when it’s appropriate to use an apostrophe while personalizing an item, especially last names and the ever-tricky names that end in an “s”, so we wanted to create a short and simple “how-to” guide of sorts to help everyone navigate this super common grammatical faux pas.
Remember that an apostrophe ( ’ ) shows the possessive tense, not the plural. So unless the item is signifying ownership of something (EXAMPLE: Ashley & John’s Home; Lindsay’s Campsite; The Miller’s Lake House, etc.) you DO NOT need an apostrophe to pluralize a name.
In the case that ownership is implied, as in the above examples, and the name ends in an “s,” you’ll simply want to add an apostrophe ( ’ ) at the end of the name WITHOUT adding the additional “s” afterwards - EXAMPLE: Charles’ Bar; James’ Laundry Room, Thomas’ Pencil Bag, etc.
If you’re simply trying to add a name to an item that DOES NOT imply ownership, you’ll follow these next few tips:
Most last names are pluralized simply by adding the letter “s” to the end:
EXAMPLE: “Linda & Tom Potter” → “The Potters”
If, however, the last name ends in “s,” “x,” “z,” “ch,” or “sh,” add “es” instead to pluralize:
EXAMPLE: Maggie & Steve Cox → “The Coxes”
EXAMPLE: Anna & Ben Jones → ‘The Joneses”
Last thing to remember for pluralization, and it’s super important! Don’t modify proper names by changing “y” to “ies” or changing “man” to “men”
CORRECT: The Kennedys INCORRECT: The Kennedies
CORRECT: The Goldmans INCORRECT: The Goldmen
We hope this brief guide helps to clear up any confusion but if you’re still unsure about how to pluralize a name, or just want confirmation you’re doing it correctly, we’re always here to help!