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Proofreading Service - Pain in the English

Your Pain Is Our Pleasure

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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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Comments

The first is correct.

Nicholas_Sanders Apr-12-2005

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

speedwell2 Apr-12-2005

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Got one.

http://www.users.bigpond.com/J_fersOffice/sample.htm

"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...".

speedwell2 Apr-12-2005

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

Nicholas_Sanders Apr-12-2005

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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.

Gregg_Nagel Apr-13-2005

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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.

Shirley_Mutti Apr-15-2005

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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."

speedwell2 Apr-15-2005

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

Steve1 Jun-19-2005

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