There are two different styles in English that teach us different rules about possessive names. This article will look at the possessive form of “Jones” and whether “Jones'” or “Jones’s” is correct (or if both are, which style prefers which case).
Jones’ Or Jones’s: Which Is The Correct Possessive Form?
The correct possessive form is “Jones'” if you’re following AP Stylebook guidelines (commonly taught in schools throughout the world). You can use “Jones’s” when following the Microsoft or Chicago Manuals of Style. It’s more common to use this style globally.
Both forms are correct, and it depends entirely on your style. We’ll touch more on that later, but for now, we’ve got the graph that demonstrates which is more popular overall.
According to Google Ngram Viewer, “Jones’s” is the more popular choice, though not by much. Also, it’s only been in the last three decades or so that “Jones’s” has overtaken “Jones'” in popularity.
When To Use Jones’
Let’s start with “Jones’,” which you might be more likely to come across in education.
The Associated Press Stylebook teaches us that any name ending with an “S” does not need a second “S” after the apostrophe in the possessive form. That means “Jones'” is the correct possessive form according to this style.
We remove the “S” after the apostrophe because it’s believed that the apostrophe alone is enough to indicate the possessive.
It helps us to keep the writing more streamlined since we’re removing the need for the double “S” letter to appear:
The second example shows the double “S,” which is a little more difficult to read in some cases.
Examples of Jones’
These examples will show you how the possessive form looks:
- Richard Jones’ father is on his way here now!
- Jones’ name isn’t on the register anymore.
- Where is Taylor Jones’ microphone when you need it?
- We should do something for Mr. Jones’ birthday!
- What is Madam Jones’ contact number? It’s urgent.
“Jones'” is the possessive form of “Jones” (which is a common surname). We use it when “Jones” is in possession of an object. The object usually comes directly after the name “Jones” to highlight this.
When To Use Jones’s
“Jones’s” is the more popular spelling choice, but we haven’t spoken about why that is yet.
According to the Microsoft Manual of Style and the Chicago Manual of Style, the “S” after the apostrophe is required for all names when writing in the possessive form. In these styles, “Jones’s” is the correct choice.
It’s more popular in English because it’s easy to read. When someone is trying to move through the text quickly, you want to make sure they’ll be able to spot the possessive form at a moment’s notice.
While the double “S” might look clunky to some, it helps to establish the possessive form. The apostrophe can be easy to miss if you’re not careful, which is shown in the second example.
Examples of Jones’s
We can give you some examples of how “Jones’s” looks in a sentence:
- Jones’s father will be here to talk about his punishment.
- Corporal Jones’s headscarf went missing last night.
- Where is Mrs. Jones’s husband? I thought he was supposed to be here.
- Which one of you is the Jones’s kid?
- Gareth Jones’s life is in your hands, now.
“Jones’s” is another possessive form, where the “S” is still present after the apostrophe. It is more common to use the possessive in this way when working with names that end in “S.”
Is There A Preference For Using Jones’ or Jones’s In US vs. UK?
We can also show you the differences in preference between American and British English.
According to Google Ngram Viewer, “Jones’s” is still the more popular choice in American English. The trendline remains the same, where “Jones’s” was only the most popular starting three decades ago.
According to Google Ngram Viewer, “Jones’s” is also the most popular choice in British English. There was never a time in British English where “Jones'” was more popular either.
Both UK and US English prefer “Jones’s” in writing over “Jones’.”
Both “Jones’s” and “Jones'” are correct possessive forms. However, the popularity of “Jones’s” in standard English shows that it’s much more likely that you’ll come across it. You should make sure to write “Jones’s” for this very reason when doing your own work.
You may also like: Jesus’ Or Jesus’s? Here’s The Possessive Form (Helpful Examples)
Martin holds a Master’s degree in Finance and International Business. He has six years of experience in professional communication with clients, executives, and colleagues. Furthermore, he has teaching experience from Aarhus University. Martin has been featured as an expert in communication and teaching on Forbes and Shopify. Read more about Martin here.