I think about it almost every single day: How do I properly tack an apostrophe onto the possessive form of the word Davis? To better understand the issue, consider these two potential headlines. Which one is correct?
- Davis's Grammar Skills are Improving
- Davis' Grammar Skills are Improving
Do you think you have the answer? The examples below from respected publications may leave you second-guessing. Each of the sentences focuses on NON-PLURAL words that end in "S": Davis, Steve Jobs, and Tiger Woods.
Note: Davis Patch uses “Davis’s,” mostly because a co-worker recommended it and because that's how the New York Times does it. But, as a former colleague once asked me: “If the New York Times jumped off a bridge…”
The Associated Press goes the other way, suggesting things like "Jesus' life" or "Kansas' schools" as the proper approach.
Publications that Use Davis's
- : Davis’s score is eight points higher than that of Vacaville, but two points fewer than in Dixon.
- New York Times: Mr. Jobs’s first job was at Atari, and it involved the game Pong.
- The Atlantic: ...[it] isn't something that's necessarily endorsed by Jobs's biographer.
- Sports Illustrated: ...Phil Mickelson's fast start, Tiger Woods's putting and Rory McIlroy's run.
Publications that Use Davis’
- Davis Enterprise: “... under Davis’ proposed minor alcohol preclusion ordinance, however, officers can cite...”
- Davis Vanguard: Politicos Share Their Views of the Candidate Field and Davis' Future
- CNN: He got a call from one of Jobs' associates who asked him several questions.
- ESPN: Woods' remarks came before PGA Tour rookie...
As you can see, we are a nation divided on this front.
According to Grammarbook.com, the nerds of the world will argue heatedly on the subject for eternity, but the most roundly accepted rule is to include the apostrophe, along with an extra “S.” (Davis's rather than Davis').
Reading stuff like that helps me sleep at night, but then I wake up the next day and see it done differently on CNN and all over the place, and I can't help but think twice. Share your opinion in the comments section below.