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Proper Noun Possessives

There’s no definite rule for putting the apostrophe “s” after names like Liz or Alex when talking about Liz’s wedding or Alex’s school, but we know for certain that most people say, and write out, the possessive...

Can of Worms

What do you call a guy with a bald pate? A chrome dome? Maybe the lucky fellow is sporting a solar panel for a sex machine. Also, which would you rather open: a can of worms or Pandora’s box? Plus, ordinary vs. ornery, versing vs. versus...

Third Person Singular, Unknown Gender

What’s the rule on using they and their in place of his and hers? Grammarians a couple of centuries ago may have misapplied some Latin rules of grammar to the unruly English language, but the issue is clear today: the word they functions...

Possessive for Names Ending With S

Does the possessive “s” go at the end of a proper noun ending in “s”? What’s the possessive of a name like James — James’ or James’s? Either’s correct, depending on your style guide. The AP Stylebook...

The “Its” Just Keep on Coming

Hello, fellow wordies! We hope this week’s archive edition isn’t “a few pickles short of a jar” or “a few peas short of a casserole.” We talk about these and other phrases for “not measuring up.” Also:...