Thomas’ Or Thomas’s? Here’s The Possessive Form (Helpful Examples)

When using the possessive form, we need to make sure we’re following the correct rules for whichever stylebook we’re using. For the most part, the rules are the same, but things get tricky when we use names like “Thomas”, which ends with an “S.”

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

“Thomas'” is the correct possessive form when writing according to the AP Stylebook guidelines. This is the most common style taught at schools. “Thomas’s” is the correct possessive form when writing according to The Microsoft or Chicago Manual of Style.

Thomas' or Thomas's possessive

The only real differences come from whichever style you use. While the AP stylebook is the best choice for educational purposes, that doesn’t mean it’s always the best option in writing.

To show this, you can look at this graph from Google Ngram Viewer. Here, it shows that “Thomas’s” is the more popular possessive form compared with “Thomas’.” Even though we’re taught the AP style, it seems that the other two styles are more popular outside of education.

Thomas' or Thomas's possessive - statistics

When To Use Thomas’

It is appropriate to use “Thomas'” as the possessive form when you’re following the Associated Press Stylebook. With this style, it’s said that the “S” at the end of a possessive word can be dropped if it is a name that already ends in “S.”

We tend to drop the “S” at the end because it helps us to write it. It also looks much less clunky, as some people don’t like how the double “S” looks on the page:

  • Thomas’
  • Thomas’s

If we look at them in this case, we’ll see that “Thomas'” is more streamlined. However, the other variation, “Thomas’s,” looks jarring and difficult to read in some cases.

Examples of Thomas’

Some examples of the AP style of possessive forms might help you to understand when we use it.

  • Was that Thomas’ girlfriend that we just saw?
  • Thomas’ house should be somewhere along this road!
  • This isn’t Thomas’ homework. It’s mine!
  • I wish I was Thomas’ best friend, but he doesn’t care about me!
  • Thomas’ dog is a joy to be around!

The possessive form is used when “Thomas” is the owner of something. We include the apostrophe after “Thomas” in this way, followed by an object of some kind to show what it is he is owning.

When To Use Thomas’s

The Microsoft Manual of Style and the Chicago Manual of Style are the other stylebooks and the ones where “Thomas’s” is most appropriate. If you’re writing following these styles, you should make sure to include the extra “S.”

While some people believe the second “S” to be jarring, others believe it helps with readability and comprehension. That’s why it’s common to see it written so that people can distinguish from the name and the possessive form if they need to.

  • Thomas’s watch
  • Thomas’ watch

As you can see, the extra “S” helps us to distinguish the possessive form, meaning that “Thomas” owns the watch. Without it (like example 2), it’s a little harder to understand whether it’s the possessive or whether we’re just telling “Thomas” to “watch.”

Examples of Thomas’s

  • Thomas’s watch was placed down on the table before we left.
  • That’s Thomas’s wallet, and we should deliver it to him.
  • Where can Thomas’s cat have gotten to?
  • We are Thomas’s mom and dad, and it’s so nice to meet you!
  • This is Thomas’s landlord, so your questions can go through me.

Is There A Preference For Using Thomas’ or Thomas’s In US vs. UK?

Sometimes, in certain language rules, you’ll find differences between the US and UK English. Does that seem difference apply when we look at the possessive forms for names?

According to Google Ngram Viewer, “Thomas’s” is the more popular choice in US English, meaning the Chicago and Microsoft Manual of Style are more popular than the AP Style (Thomas’).

Thomas' or Thomas's possessive - American English

Also, in UK English, according to Google Ngram Viewer, the results are much the same, and “Thomas’s” is still the more popular choice of the two. The trend lines are slightly different, but you can tell that “Thomas’s” is still the best choice.

Thomas' or Thomas's possessive - British English

There are no major preference differences in the US and the UK with possessive forms. “Thomas’s” is the best choice.

Final Thoughts

It seems that “Thomas’s” is the best choice to use in most written cases. We tend to follow the rules of the Microsoft and Chicago Manual of Style because it helps us to emphasize that we’re using the possessive form, making it much easier for our readers to comprehend.

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