The Smiths Or The Smiths’ Or The Smiths’s? (Good Examples)

You might not know this, but it’s actually possible to pluralize names, just like regular nouns. To help you understand this, we put together this article to show you the plural and possessive forms of “The Smiths” and how to use them.

The Smiths Or The Smiths’ Or The Smiths’s: Which Is The Correct Possessive Form?

“The Smiths'” is the correct plural possessive form of “The Smiths.” We use it whenever we want to show that the family of “Smiths” owns an object or group of objects in a sentence. There is never a need to repeat the “S,” meaning that “The Smiths’s” is wrong.

The Smiths Or The Smiths' Or The Smiths's: Which Is The Correct Possessive Form?

You might be surprised to learn that surnames can be plural. In this article, we’re assuming that we’re dealing with a family of people with the surname “Smith.” We can add an “S” to the end of it to show that it’s the family (rather than just one “Smith”).

These are the forms we can use:

  • Plural: The Smiths
  • Plural possessive: The Smiths’

Since we’re only talking about the family as a plural, there is no need to refer to the singular form.

However, the plural possessive form follows many of the same rules that we’ve come to expect with other nouns. Since the plural form “The Smiths” already ends with an “S,” we can just add an apostrophe after it to show possession.

The Smiths

We want to start this one fairly easily. We figured that the plural form would be the best place to start to achieve this.

“The Smiths” is the plural form of “Smith.” We can use it when referring to a family of people named “Smith,” where the “S” is added to the end of the name to show that there are multiple of them.

The key takeaway here is the use of the word “the.” We typically don’t use “the” to refer to one person with the name “Smith:”

  • The Smith is on his way.

This would be a very strange thing to say to someone. Even if you know someone with the surname “Smith,” it’s best to just refer to them by their first name.

However, if you want to generalize a family with the same surname, there’s nothing wrong with doing the following:

  • The Smiths are on their way.

Rather than having to list each family member by name, we can refer to them as a group with an added “S” at the end of their surname.

Here’s how we can use it correctly:

  1. The Smiths have just messaged me to let me know they’re coming down.
  2. This isn’t where the Smiths told us to meet them.
  3. We have to find the Smiths before they get into any more trouble!
  4. The Smiths are some of my closest friends, and I can’t let anything happen to them.
  5. You’re not the Smiths that I know and love.

As you can see, “The Smiths” works well when referring to the plural form (meaning the family). We do not need an apostrophe in any case here. We simply include an “S” at the end of the name.

The Smiths’

The only correct possessive form comes when we include an apostrophe. It would help to understand a little more about this before we show you the incorrect variation.

“The Smiths'” is the only correct possessive form. It is the plural possessive form, and it means that the family of “Smiths” owns an object or group of similar objects in a sentence.

You’ll notice that we take the plural form “The Smiths” and add an apostrophe to it. This is common for most plural possessive forms because almost all of the regular ones end with the letter “S.”

Since “The Smiths” ends with an “S,” we do not need the extra “S” after the apostrophe, making it much easier to use.

The possessive form for surnames works like this:

  1. The Smiths’ house should be somewhere up here.
  2. The Smiths’ address was scribbled down on this piece of paper.
  3. The Smiths’ kid is coming up our driveway now.
  4. The Smiths’ car always makes us envious of them!
  5. The Smiths’ events are always hilarious!

“The Smiths'” works to show the family of “Smiths” owning an object or group of objects in a sentence.

The Smiths’s

We’ve already mentioned that including the “S” after the apostrophe is wrong, but let’s show you why.

“The Smiths’s” is incorrect. We cannot add an “S” after an apostrophe in the plural possessive form because it would make the word too hard for readers to pronounce. It is too clunky and jarring, and you should always drop the “S.”

Here are some contrasting examples to show you how it works:

  • Correct: The Smiths’ hot tub is ready to go now, dear.
  • Incorrect: The Smiths’s belongings have been lost during their flight back.
  • Correct: The Smiths’ dog was escaped, and we need to help them find her.
  • Incorrect: The Smiths’s family gathering was an absolute disaster!
  • Correct: The Smiths’ whereabouts are currently unknown.
  • Incorrect: The Smiths’s house has been damaged in the fire.

Quiz: Have You Mastered The Smiths Or The Smiths’ Or The Smiths’s?

A quiz will put all of your new knowledge to the test. Remember, one of the multiple-choice answers is completely wrong, and if you’ve been paying attention, you should know which one it is!

  1. (A. The Smiths / B. The Smiths’ / C. The Smiths’s) didn’t want me here last night!
  2. I am (A. The Smiths / B. The Smiths’ / C. The Smiths’s) best friend!
  3. (A. The Smiths / B. The Smiths’ / C. The Smiths’s) are coming now.
  4. We have (A. The Smiths / B. The Smiths’ / C. The Smiths’s) house for the winter!
  5. You are (A. The Smiths / B. The Smiths’ / C. The Smiths’s) butler, right?

Quiz answers

  1. A
  2. B
  3. A
  4. B
  5. B

Final Thoughts

We use “The Smiths'” as the possessive form of “The Smiths.” There are no other correct forms to use. If you want to show that the family owns an object or group of objects, make sure you only include an apostrophe after the name (an extra “S” is never needed).

You may also like: Edmonds’ Or Edmonds’s? Correct Possessive (Helpful Examples)