Submitted by markmiodovski  •  August 16, 2004

Apostrophe & Parentheses Usage

When indicating that either one or more than one of something is envisioned, the “(s)” is normally added to the end of the word, such as “team(s)”. When using an apostrophe to indicate the possessive, the location of the apostrophe is placed either before or after the final “s” depending whether the word is meant to be singular or plural, such as “team’s” or “teams’”. Should the apostrophe be placed before or after the “(s)” to indicate the possessive quality of the team(s) ?

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Mark, the situation is sufficiently weird that I don't think a rule exists. Moreover, I don't think such a rule SHOULD exist. (Just my opinion on the "should.")

I gather you mean to indicate that something can belong to one or more teams. I doubt there is a case that can't be improved by the use of a workaround.

Instead of, "We specialize in pizza parties for your team(s)' after-game celebrations" (for example), you could easily recast the awkward sentence into something like "Bring your teams here for the victory celebration," or "We specialize in pizza parties to celebrate team victories."

Bad examples, but I'm hard put to think of a sentence in which you might feel boxed into using a very strange possessive of a very odd construction like "team(s)."

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I mean, that really made me blink twice, hard, and gave me a feeling like you get when you eat too many raw onions and vinegar. Eeeeesh.

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Good grief!

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I had a similar case.

GMC (MH)'s funds or GMC (MH's) funds

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