Posted by: episystechpubs | November 9, 2015

Editor’s Corner: Be Possessive!

As promised, we’re back this week with more on the possessive. Today I thought I’d ease into the week with the way the possessive is used in certain expressions. The Chicago Manual of Style provides an entire section on “for . . . sake” expressions and provides clarification about whether to use the “s apostrophe” or “apostrophe s.”

First, these “for . . . sake” expressions contain a singular noun that ends in an s, and just gets an apostrophe at the end:

· for goodness’ sake

· for righteousness’ sake

And this second group is formed normally with the “apostrophe s”:

· for expedience’s sake

· for appearance’s sake (or for appearances’ sake [plural possessive] or for the sake of appearance)

· for Jesus’s sake

Similarly, there are expressions based on the “old genitive case.” Honestly, that sounds like it belongs in dentistry, but according to CMOS, the genitive in these phrases implies the word “of.”

· in three days’ time

· an hour’s delay (or a one-hour delay)

· six months’ leave of absence (or a six-month leave of absence)

Kara Church

Technical Editor, Advisory

619-542-6773 | Ext: 766773

Symitar Documentation Services

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