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PESKY POSSESSIVES

I few years ago, I helped the ladies of our church compile a cookbook. One of the questionable terms that came up in a few of the recipes was “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.

Possessives

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. 
Singular   

Mr. Brooks
child
lunch
sheep
lady
man

Singular Possessive

child’s
lunch’s
sheep’s
lady’s
man’s
passerby’s

Plural
The Brookses (no apostrophe)
children
lunches
sheep
ladies
men

Plural Possessive

children’s
lunches’
sheep’s
ladies’
men’s
passersbys’

Add an apostrophe to a word that ends in an s sound.
for old times’ sake
for conscience’ sake
for appearance’ sake:
Add an apostrophe and an s to a foreign name ending in a silent sibilant.
Descartes’s invention
Des Moines’s schools


faux pas’s
Add an apostrophe and an s to the last word of a singular compound noun.
the Governor of Maine’s
the attorney general’s

Indicate common possession by making only the last item in a series possessive.
Teddy, Peggy, and Nancy’s home

Indicate individual possession by making each item in a series possessive.
Teddy’s, Peggy’s, and Nancy’s homes

The following types of possessives should be written as singulars.
artist’s paintbrush
baker’s yeast
farmer’s market
confectioner’s sugar
florist’s wire
printer’s ink
writer’s cramp
painter’s tape

So there you have a few tips about using possessives. They’re tricky, so be careful, and your writing will improve as you learn these possessive rules.

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TEN REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD ATTEND A WRITERS’ CONFERENCE

              Two 2017 MCWC Faculty Members: Torry Martin + Carol Wedeven

  1. Your family loves what you’ve written, but now you’ll get the full scoop from editors and agents of how good your manuscript really is (or isn’t).
  2. You’ll learn how to properly submit your work to a publisher.
  3. You’ll discover that your high school English needs A LOT of brushing up.
  4. Words like “genre,” “royalty publishing,” “submission,” and “elevator pitch” will finally have meaning.
  5. You’ll have the opportunity to talk shop with best-selling authors.
  6. You’ll be able to attend dozens of workshops that will teach you all aspects of the writing/publishing business.
  7. You’ll be able to purchase “how-to-write” books at a reduced price that will help you hone your craft.
  8. You’ll be able to meet the editor or agent of your choice to show your work.
  9. You’ll make new writer friends who will encourage you by email or phone.
  10. You’ll leave with the determination to revise, revise, revise and get your work published.

Faculty Member:
Artist Dave Weiss

 

We just had a terrific week at the Montrose Christian Writers Conference. I’m sorry if you weren’t able to join us. Take a peek at what you missed and make plans to attend next year.

http://www.montrosebible.org/OurEvents/tabid/113/page_550/1/eventid_550/58/Default.aspx

Marsha, Director

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