I’m helping the ladies of our church with a cookbook. One of the questionable terms that came up in a few of the recipes is “confectioner’s sugar.” Did it have an apostrophe or not?
I checked out a bag of the little white powder at the grocery store, and the manufacturing company had it spelled “confectioners sugar” on the label.
One of the gals in the church took the time to look up possessives in an English book and found that, at least, in her resource confectioner DOES use an apostrophe in this phrase: confectioner’s sugar.
Publisher’s choice? This is often the case with punctuation, and, unfortunately, the rules always seem to be changing.
So, FYI, I’ve included just a few of those pesky possessive rules for you to ponder. But don’t bet your life on any of these; in a year or two, some could be different, or the editor with whom you work might have her own idea.
Just try to understand the pesky possessive’s point of view.
Generally, a possessive is formed by adding an apostrophe and an s to a word that does not end in s, and only an apostrophe to a word that does end in s. An apostrophe is not added to plurals.
|Add an apostrophe to a word that ends in an s sound.
for old times’ sake
for conscience’ sake
for appearance’ sakeAdd an apostrophe and an s to a foreign name ending in a silent sibilant.
Des Moines’s schools
Add an apostrophe and an s to the last word of a singular compound noun.
Indicate common possession by making only the last item in a series possessive.
Indicate individual possession by making each item in a series possessive.