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Proofreading Service - Pain in the English

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Plural last name ending in “z”

How do you refer to two people with the last name Valdez. Is it “the Valdezes” or “Valdez’s” are coming for dinner?

  • November 4, 2008
  • Posted by mary
  • Filed in Grammar
  • 26 comments

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I am not a mother tongue, but I would just use The Valdez in this case. The article is enough for me to make explicit that they are two or more. If it was only one you would have said just Valdez, isn't it?

But, as I said, i am not mother tongue... don't count on me saying the right thing...

Giorgio_Guzzetta Nov-08-2008

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Man says in Spanish 'los Valdez' ('the -plural- Valdez)

jrod Nov-09-2008

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This is really very simple. "The Valdezes" is the correct plural. "The Valdez's" would be the possessive, not the plural.

porsche Nov-10-2008

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Valdez ends in sibilant. That makes..hm..at least the possesive "the Valdez'." The plural's "The Valdezes" though, I agree.

AO Nov-10-2008

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AO, there is no real consensus on whether the possessive should be Valdez' or Valdez's. I would suggest that either is correct. There are many respected sources that say one, the other, or both.

porsche Nov-11-2008

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Oh, silly us, AO. The possessive really should be "the Valdezes' ", shouldn't it? "The Valdez' " or "the Valdez's" only makes sense if there's only one of them. In that case, there would be no "the" unless he or she is THE Valdez, the one and only, the greatest Valdez ever!

porsche Nov-11-2008

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WHAT ABOUT ALL THE CARS, PORSCHE?! ALL OF THEM! AHH! *SCREAMS*... Just kidding.

threesixty Nov-13-2008

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Which of the following is correct when referring to a family named Goodrich?

1. We're having dinner at the Goodriches' tonight.

2. We're having dinner at the Goodrichs' tonight.

Thank you.

John4 Nov-19-2008

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probably plural is Valdezes, although it's not exactly set in stone, seeing as it's a non-english word. What's happening is that you're applying a fairly general english rule to a close-enough case and english is flexible enough for that to be acceptable. However, you should note that it is technically correct to use an apostrophe for "hard to pluralize cases", notably P's and Q's, so if you had a violent objection to integrating a spanish word into a spanish-english hybrid plural, then an argument can be made that Valdez's is correct (or at least not incorrect, if you're taking Who Wants to be a Millionaire to court after getting the final question wrong).

style guides generally suggest writing the possessive s where it is pronounced, so possessive Valdez's rather than Valdez' for the singular, but really it's optional

but yes, the Valdezes' and the Goodriches' (house)

eeenok Nov-26-2008

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Why not just refer to those names as a group unit? Such as "the Valdez Family". Maybe even "the Valdez household" in case of a unknown marial status. Seems like that would be the easiest way to git 'er done. :)

suzieqalaska Dec-02-2008

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The "ending with an apostrophe" rule only applies for the letter "s" (not z, x, sh, etc.), and only in certain situations: Jesus', Moses' and words in which the possessive "s" is not pronounced (boys', girls').

"Chris's" is pronounced so "Chrisses", it should end with apostrophe-s.

Valdez ends with z, and it's pronounced "Valdezzes" anyway, so it ends with 's.

bubbha Dec-07-2008

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Well.....I agree with most of the things you said. Anyway, thanks!

john234 May-13-2009

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When speaking English and saying plural of a Spanish surname, the name gets said the same as the singular.

An right-speaking English speaker says "Juan Valdez", "Juan and Juanita Valdez" and "The Valdez".

When speaking Spanish and saying plural of a Spanish surname, the name gets said the same as the singular. However, the singular masculine or feminine definitive article, depending upon the name, article gets changed to the plural definitive article.

So the Spanish speak says, "Juan Valdez", "Juan y Juanita Valdez" and "Los Valdez".

Valdez is not an English loan word. Thus, the word gets said as the native speaker would say it.

johnnye Nov-29-2009

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correction:


When speaking English and saying the plural of a Spanish surname, the name gets said the same as the singular.

A right-speaking English speaker says “Juan Valdez”, “Juan and Juanita Valdez” and “The Valdez”.

When speaking Spanish and saying plural of a Spanish surname, the name gets said the same as the singular. However, the singular masculine or feminine definitive article, depending upon the name, article gets changed to the plural definitive article.

So the Spanish speak says, “Juan Valdez”, “Juan y Juanita Valdez” and “Los Valdez”.

Valdez is not an English loan word. Thus, the word gets said as the native speaker would say it.

johnnye Nov-29-2009

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One more time!

When speaking English and saying the plural form of a Spanish surname, the name gets said the same as the singular form.

A right-speaking English speaker says “Juan Valdez”, “Juan and Juanita Valdez” and “The Valdez”.

When speaking Spanish and saying the plural form of a Spanish surname, the name gets said the same as the singular form. However, the singular masculine or feminine definitive article, depending upon the name, gets changed to the plural definitive article.

So the Spanish speaker says, “Juan Valdez”, “Juan y Juanita Valdez” and “Los Valdez”.

Valdez is not an English loan word. Thus, the word gets said as a native speaker would say it.

johnnye Nov-29-2009

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How do I put Marschuetz on an ornament when I want it to be love, The Marschuetzes is that correct or should it be love, The Marschuetz's

amarschuetz Nov-29-2009

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To answer Ann's question, the plural of Marschuetz is Marschuetzes. The ornament should read: "Love, the Marschuetzes." (Don't capitalize the article "the," it isn't an honorific.)

As for the original question, those who have argued that a name of non-English origin should be made possessive in the manner of the language of origin are incorrect. It is, in fact, impossible in some cases. For example, Mandarin does not alter the name to make it possessive, instead it uses the particle "de" to indicate possession:

Zhe shi Mao xian sheng de ge ge.

This is Mr. Mao's elder brother.


To apply the Mandarin practice to English would be awkward, and limiting: "This is the elder brother of Mr. Mao."

The same holds true for plurals of proper names, which are treated by English rules regardless of origin. And the rule is simple, at least as English rules go. Most names simply add '-s', while those ending in 's', 'x', or 'z', or in a sibilant 'ch' or 'sh' add '-es'.

douglas.bryant Nov-29-2009

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Thanks thanks thanks! I was looking for something along lines of this for hours and couldn't find it. Will definitely drop a word about this site.
Cheers

Burghard7 Dec-15-2009

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I have now found your site through google and find them very interesting.

Unfortunately I can not soo good English and I have to look up very many words. Is there a way to translate the whole page somewhere?

I'd really appreciate an answer. Love Greetings from Germany

karsten1 Feb-02-2010

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Google has a translation tool. You will find it in the "more" menu at the top of the Google home page.

Here is an example:

Google hat ein Übersetzungs-Tool. Sie werden es in der "Mehr"-Menü am oberen Rand der Google-Startseite.

(It isn't perfect.}

douglas.bryant Feb-02-2010

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Wonderful Help. Maybe some words that people hear bin their every day lives.

anna13582 May-24-2012

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Plural does NOT have an apostrophe - you never make words plural by adding an apostrophe unless you are talking about words like CD or DVD - then it is acceptable, but not necessary.

To make words plural, you add an "s" or "es" and the same is true for names. The Valdezes, the Smiths, The Williamses, etc.

You add an apostrophe to show possession, not plural.
I am an English teacher, so you can trust me. ;)

Lynz Jul-17-2013

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AM writing about a man & wife with the last name of GOODRICH and want to use their name but indicate I'm speaking about both of them ~ SO, how do you spell the name???

My computer adds an apostrophe, but that doesn't seem correct???
Thnx for your help!

Larkin Nov-15-2013

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@Larkin

Goodriches would be the correct plural.

user106928 Nov-15-2013

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@Larkin - I second Hairy Scot - I don't see any reason why surnames should be any different from other nouns - brooch / brooches, church / churches, Goodrich / Goodriches - as in this book - The Goodriches: An American Family

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/goodriches-dane-starbuck/1101351802

There are plenty more examples of "the Goodriches" at Google Books. Google will ask you if you mean Goodrich's, but all the examples of that I can see are possessives.

NB - There are some similar queries at http://painintheenglish.com/case/223

Warsaw Will Nov-15-2013

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According to English ,we must add es to family names ending in Z,X,sh.

Max Matias Jan-28-2017

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