…..but I am surprised at how people who claim to have it as their first (and often, only) language cannot tell the difference between possessive and plural forms.
This is the possessive form of the word ‘table’: table’s. You use the apostrophe (‘s) when you want to describe something that belongs to the table, or some quality of the table, or something that the table fucking possesses. For example;
This is the table’s edge.
This is the table’s right place.
This is how you write the table’s fucking possessive form.
This table’s slightly crooked. (Here you are describing an attribute of the table - crookedness - by contracting “the table is” to “the table’s”).
If the word itself ends in an ‘s’ don’t add another ‘s’ - just add an apostrophe (’).
The abbess’ piety is well-known.
The skittles’ colour is green.
My glasses’ frames are green.
On the other hand, if you want to write the plural form of the word table, you leave out the apostrophe and just add an ‘s’: one table, two tables, many tables, but never “table’s”. For example;
I’m going to buy five tables at IKEA.
We can just put all the food on the tables.
’Tables’ is how you write the fucking plural form of ‘table’.
The same rule applies when you are talking about people. Therefore, I present to you the possessive:
This is Jonny’s hockey stick. (Don’t forget the apostrophe because there’s only one Jonny)
This is Geno’s dog. (Don’t forget the apostrophe because there’s only one Geno, thank goodness).
Derek is Stiles’ werewolf. (If the word or name ends with a ‘s’, you just put an apostrophe at the end of the name and don’t add an extra s.)
Draco’s love for Harry is well-known.
Hermione’s commitment to good grammar is what makes her weep when she reads your fan-fiction.
This is Sidney’s house.
And now the plural:
The Malkins are coming over for dinner. (You are referring to more than one Kane, so you use the plural form. Not “the Malkin’s are coming over for dinner”, but “the Malkins are coming over for dinner”.)
Sharpy and Kaner are both mocking Jonny, and that’s more Patricks than Jonny can handle. (You are referring to more than one Patrick, so no fucking apostrophe).
Sidney has built several houses and he hates them all. (You are talking about several houses and not the particular attributes of any house).
Draco has lots of pet snakes. (Not snake’s)
Hermione is way too old for all these silly mistakes. (Not mistake’s).
What if you want to write about many things that belong to many people? Don’t let your head explode. Here’s how you do it.
Who are the people? Let’s say you’re talking about the Hale family.
What are the things? Let’s say you’re talking about all their houses.
What about the houses? Well, let’s say they’re beautiful.
The Hales have many houses.
Let’s break it down. Many people named Hale? Say Hales, not Hale’s. More than one house? Say houses, not house’s.
The Hales’ houses are beautiful.
Let’s break it down again. More than one Hale? Hales. More than one house? Houses. Possessive form of Hales? It ends with an ‘s’ so just add an apostrophe and you’re done. Hales’ Houses.
Some more examples:
Derek started a solo construction company, and he named it ‘Hale’s Houses’.
Derek Hale has a house. It’s Hale’s house.
Derek and Cora started a construction company, and they named it ‘Hales’ Houses’.
Derek and Cora Hale have a house. It’s the Hales’ house.
It took me a long time to learn this (as the title of this post indicates, English is not my first language, or even my second, or for that matter, my third). If I, at the hoary old age of twenty-three could learn this, you, who have been speaking, reading, and writing this language for your entire life, should be able to master it too. I still don’t get it right all the time, but I try.
I’m going to preemptively apologise for all the grammatical mistakes that I myself have made in this post. I’m happy to correct them if you point them out, because learning is an ongoing process and I will never be ashamed of making mistakes as long as I am willing to try and learn from them.