Submitted by greggnagel on April 12, 2005

Apostrophe Catastrophe

(Bob Rusk and Tina Rusk are a married couple and have the same advisor)

Which is correct:

Bob and Tina Rusk’s advisor suggests... or Bob and Tina Rusks’ advisor suggests...

Is there someplace I can find the rule that dictates this? (I need to present proof to settle an argument)

Thank You, Gregg Nagel

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unless the name is Bob Rusks... and Tina Rusks. then it would be the Rusks' advisor suggests...

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The first is correct.

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First, absolutely, as Nicholas says. Will find cite.

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Got one.

http://www.users.bigpond.com/J_fersOffice/sampl...

"When you have 'double possession' - when two or more people (or subjects) own one item and both (or all) of their names are mentioned, the apostrophe is applied only to the second (or last) name.

'We had coffee at Ermintrude and Marmaduke's mansion.'"

Think of your statement as "The advisor of Bob and Tina Rusk [not Rusks] suggests...".

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But "The Rusks' advisor..." would also be correct.

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thanks speedwell... I needed the rule to cite as a defense!

The best I'd been able to do was to say "one wouldn't say 'Bob and Tina Rusks are going to the park,'" but I didn't know the actual rule.

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Gregg---

I'm sticking with "Bob and Tina Rusk's advisor"...as they are a married couple functioning as a single (not plural) entity.

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Marriage has nothing to do with it. Ownership in common is what counts here. One may correctly say, for example, "John Doe and Mary Roe's lawsuit against their employer."

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