Helpful Grammar Tips for Personalizing Gifts with Names

by Bri Bradford on Oct 19, 2020

Helpful Grammar Tips for Personalizing Gifts with Names

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!