Form the plural of a given or a family name by adding s. If the name ends in a sibilant sound (like s, x, z), add es instead.
- There are two Johns, three Nancys, and four Agneses in my class.
- Are the Smiths here yet?
- The Joneses live next door to the Murrays.
Avoid using an apostrophe to form a plural.
- Poor: The Johnson’s and the Garcia’s are old family friends.
Better: The Johnsons and the Garcias are old family friends.
Don’t add es or ies to given or family names ending in vowels or those ending in y; simply add s.
- Incorrect: We have invited the Castilloes and Murphies to dinner.
Correct: We have invited the Castillos and Murphys to dinner.
To form the possessive of a plural name, add an apostrophe after—not before—the s that forms the plural.
- Incorrect: Is that the Brown’s car parked in your driveway?
Correct: Is that the Browns’ car parked in your driveway?
The general rule
Add s or es without an apostrophe to form the plural of a name or other proper noun.
- Both Jacks are guitarists, and both Jills are drummers.
- We have three Ryans, two Janes, and three Jennys in the family.
- The Williamses and Perezes are neighbors.
- Do the Danbys still live here?
- The Patels and the Smiths are on holiday together in Portugal.
- The Rousseaus and Mendozas are old family friends.
People’s names are proper nouns and do not have a dictionary-defined plural form. There are, however, accepted style guidelines on how to form plurals of names. In this article, we discuss how to pluralize given and last names in English, along with some exceptions.
Use of apostrophe
In general, don’t use an apostrophe to form the plural of a name.
- Incorrect: The Garcia’s have moved to Seattle.
Correct: The Garcias have moved to Seattle.
- Incorrect: The Murphy’s and the Murray’s have always lived next door to each other.
Correct: The Murphys and the Murrays have always lived next door to each other.
- Incorrect: Nobody cares anymore about keeping up with the Jones’s.
Correct: Nobody cares anymore about keeping up with the Joneses.
- Incorrect: We have invited the Smith’s and the Ali’s over for dinner.
Correct: We have invited the Smiths and the Alis over for dinner.
- Incorrect: There were two Lucy’s, three Anita’s, and four Mitch’s on board the ship.
Correct: There were two Lucys, three Anitas, and four Mitches on board the ship.
With names ending in vowels, an apostrophe can sometimes help avoid confusion or improve readability.
- We have two Denise’s and two Denises in our hiking group.
Use an apostrophe to distinguish between the plurals of the names “Denise” and “Denis.”
- We have two Mary’s and two Maryses in the family already.
The apostrophe helps avoid confusion between the names “Mary” and “Marys.”
Such sentences are often better reworded.
Use an apostrophe to form the plural of a name only if not using one would result in confusion.
Names ending in s and other sibilants
Add es without an apostrophe to form the plural of a name ending in s, x, z, and other sibilants like ch, sh, and j.
- The Harrises live next door to the Diazes.
- The Hendrixes’ cat is in our window.
- The Walshes and the Williamses run a soup kitchen downtown.
- We have two Alexes, two Nikolajes, two Mitches, and three Inezes in the family.
- Neither of the Charleses I know is a prince.
Add es, not ses, to form the plural of a name ending in s.
- Incorrect: The Harrisses live in California.
Correct: The Harrises live in California.
- Incorrect: Both Thomasses are writers.
Correct: Both Thomases are writers.
Don’t use an apostrophe to form the plural of a name ending in s, x, z, and other sibilant sounds.
- Incorrect: The Jones’s are selling their house.
Correct: The Joneses are selling their house.
- Incorrect: The Lopez’s have adopted a dog from the local shelter.
Correct: The Lopezes have adopted a dog from the local shelter.
Names ending in vowels
Add s to form the plural of a name ending in a vowel (a, e, i, o, u). Avoid using an apostrophe before the s.
- We have two Ritas, three Janes, and two Lulus in class this year.
- Have the Bianchis been informed?
- Did you ask the Russos about it?
Don’t add es to form the plural; add just s, even for names that end in i or o.
- Incorrect: You know the Rossies better than I.
Correct: You know the Rossis better than I.
- Incorrect: Both Pabloes are guitarists.
Correct: Both Pablos are guitarists.
Very rarely, plurals of names ending in vowels like a or i can benefit from the use of an apostrophe, which can aid with pronunciation and also improve clarity. But use an apostrophe to form the plural of a name only when not using one could result in confusion.
- Both Luca’s are artists, and both Lucases are writers.
The apostrophe helps distinguish the plural of “Luca” from the name “Lucas.”
Names ending in y
To form the plural of a name ending in y, simply add s after the y, without an apostrophe.
- They have four Dannys and three Marys in the family.
not Dannies or Maries
- My aunts were obsessed with the Kennedys.
not the Kennedies
- The Dalys come from Howth, while the Murphys are from Drogheda.
To form the plural of a name ending in y, don’t change the y to ies; simply add s.
- Incorrect: The Murphies have opened a new store downtown.
Correct: The Murphys have opened a new store downtown.
- Incorrect: Both Harries are princes.
Correct: Both Harrys are princes.
Names ending in other consonants
Simply add s without an apostrophe to pluralize given or last names ending in consonants other than s or other sibilants.
- The Jacks and the Jills are busy fetching water.
- The Singhs have bought a new car.
- He and the Johnsons work together at the store.
- The Smiths and the Millers are neighbors.
- They live next door to the Nguyens.
Plurals of other proper nouns
Plurals of other proper nouns (such as names of brands, businesses, countries, and regions) are formed the same way as plurals of people’s names: by adding s or es.
The Americas can be roughly divided into two major cultural regions.
— “Americas,” Encyclopaedia Britannica (Accessed June 13, 2022)
He found that even small departments and universities were buying top-of-the-range Audis, BMWs and Mercedes Benzes.
— “Russians Tire of Corruption Spectacle,” BBC News (Mar. 6, 2012)
The vast data centers that process information for the Facebooks and Amazons of the Web work at a brisk clip.
— “A Wireless Way around Data Traffic Jams,” New York Times (Jan. 14, 2012)
I think there are many interesting stories to be told of the two Germanys.
— “Germans Fascinated by Life on Either Side of Berlin Wall,” Guardian (Feb. 14, 2015)
It’s competing against the General Motorses and the General Electrics of the world.
— “Red Ink,” PBS (transcript, Feb. 19, 2004)
Conflicts of interest... are everyday occurrences for the Morgan Stanleys and Goldman Sachses of the world.
— “Can There Be Investment Banks Without Conflicts?” Harvard Business Review (Feb. 5, 2010)
They prefer to call themselves ‘financial services companies,’ just like the American Expresses and the Merrill Lynches.
— “A Bank, by Any Other Name...,” New York Times (Dec. 27, 1981)
Possessives of plural names
To form the possessive of a plural name, place an apostrophe after the s that indicates the plural. For example, to refer to the Smith family, add s to the name (the Smiths), then place an apostrophe after the final s to form the possessive (the Smiths’ car). Here are some more examples.
- Is that the Garcias’ cat?
- For many, the Jacksons’ music defined the eighties.
- The Millers’ story is similar to the Joneses’.
To form a possessive, never insert an apostrophe before the s that forms the plural; always add one after.
- Incorrect: the Wilson’s car
Correct: the Wilsons’ car
Be careful with names that end in s and other sibilants. Form the possessive by placing an apostrophe after the final s.
- Incorrect: Is that the Roberts’ dog eating all your roses?
The plural of the surname “Roberts” is “Robertses.” Form the plural, and then add an apostrophe.Correct: Is that the Robertses’ dog eating all your roses?
- Incorrect: The Martinez’s bookstore has shut down.
Correct: The Martinezes’ bookstore has shut down.
Similarly, with names that end in vowels, remember to place an apostrophe after—not before—the s that forms the plural.
- Incorrect: I’ve lost the Moore’s invitation.
Correct: I’ve lost the Moores’ invitation.
- Incorrect: The Mendoza’s garden party is tomorrow.
Correct: The Mendozas’ garden party is tomorrow.
Examples from published content
Here are some examples from literature and other published content that show how names are pluralized. Note how s is generally used to form the plural, except when a name ends in a sibilant sound, when es is used instead. Also note the absence of apostrophes in the plural forms shown below.
Peeping through the meshes of the hammock, he saw the Marches coming out, as if bound on some expedition.
— Louisa May Alcott, Little Women (1868)
That the Miss Lucases and the Miss Bennets should meet to talk over a ball was absolutely necessary.
— Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice (1813)
I maintain that the Ewells started it all.
— Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird (1960)
It would be no less unreasonable if ‘Tender is the Night’ were known primarily as a novel inspired by the Murphys.
— “Books of the Times,” New York Times (June 25, 1971)
You can try the same with all the Harrys, Harrises and Harrisons. Some might even want to add in all the Henrys as well.
— “Baby Names: Peaky Blinders ‘May Have Inspired’ Choices,” BBC Culture (Aug. 29, 2019)
To be fair, all Annas are doomed to fade in the lingering light of Garbo.
— “Goings On about Town,” New Yorker (Accessed June 17, 2022)
In general, form the plural of a given or a last name by adding s (two Alices in the family, the Smiths, the Garcias). For names ending in y, simply add s, not ies (the Duffys, the Murphys). If the name ends in a sibilant like s, z, or x, add es instead (the Williamses, the Perezes). Don’t use an apostrophe to form the plural of a name, except when not using one would result in confusion. Finally, be careful with forming possessives of plural names: always place an apostrophe after the final s (the Woods’ cat, the Joneses’ car).
Names are proper nouns, which become plurals the same way that other nouns do: add the letter -s for most names (“the Johnsons,” “the Websters”) or add -es if the name ends in s or z (“the Joneses,” “the Martinezes”).What are 10 examples of plural nouns? ›
Person: men, women, people, children. Object: boxes, buses, knives, books. Animals: cows, monkeys, goats, sheep. Things: flowers, feet, teeth, apples.What is the plural of name? ›
The plural form of name; more than one (kind of) name.What are the 3 rules for apostrophes? ›
The apostrophe has three uses: 1) to form possessive nouns; 2) to show the omission of letters; and 3) to indicate plurals of letters, numbers, and symbols. Do not use apostrophes to form possessive pronouns (i.e. his/her computer) or noun plurals that are not possessives.What is a plural noun and a proper noun example? ›
A plural proper noun usually takes a “the”; however, in certain cases it takes no article. Example: The Great Lakes are home to fascinating birds and fish. The Great Lakes is a plural set of specific mountains – a named noun – which takes the article.What is an example of a proper noun? ›
Proper nouns are words for specific things, people, and places, such as “Max,” “Dr. Prakash,” and “London.” They are always capitalized and usually aren't combined with articles and other determiners.What are 5 plural nouns? ›
- bottle – bottles.
- cup – cups.
- pencil – pencils.
- desk – desks.
- sticker – stickers.
- window – windows.
These nouns always add es: potato, tomato, hero, echo, banjo, embargo, veto, torpedo. Here are the preferred spellings of some plural nouns: buffaloes, dominoes, mosquitoes, volcanoes, tornadoes, ghettos, mangos, mottos, cargos, halos, mementos. The chart below explains some exceptions to the rules. Simply add s.Do you pluralize both names? ›
If the compound noun (e.g., brother-in-law) is to be made plural, form the plural first (brothers-in-law), and then use the apostrophe + s. Rule 4a. If two people possess the same item, put the apostrophe + s after the second name only. Example: Cesar and Maribel's home is constructed of redwood.How do you write two names plural? ›
Use the apostrophe + s after the second name if two people possess the same item. Otherwise, use an apostrophe after each name. Never use an apostrophe with possessive pronouns: his, hers, its, theirs, ours, yours, whose.
Things get slightly more complicated when a family name ends with an s, x, z, ch, sh or th. In these cases, you pluralize the name by adding es. Thus, the Fox family are the Foxes, the Fitz family the Fitzes, and the Fitch family the Fitches.What are the 5 examples of apostrophe? ›
- I am – I'm: “I'm planning to write a book someday.”
- You are – You're: “You're going to have a lot of fun with your new puppy.”
- She is – She's: “She's always on time.”
- It is – It's: “I can't believe it's snowing again.”
- Do not – Don't: “I don't like anchovies.”
If you're going with The Associated Press Stylebook, James' is the correct way of writing James in the possessive form. But, for all other style guides, James's is the way to go.Is it Chris's or Chris '? ›
The Associated Press Stylebook says the correct way to write the possessive case of Chris is Chris', not Chris's. Other style guides, including the Chicago Manual of Style, say Chris's is correct. If there isn't a specific guidebook you need to follow, you can use either Chris' or Chris's.What are the 8 rules of plural nouns? ›
- Add -s. Most regular nouns can be made plural by adding an -s to the end of the word. ...
- Add -es. ...
- Change y to i. ...
- Change -us to i. ...
- Change f to v. ...
- Add -es to consonant + o endings. ...
- Change the spelling of the singular noun. ...
- Don't change anything.
Quick Use: Use an apostrophe + s for singular nouns (sea, sky), common nouns ending with s (tigress, mistress), and irregular plural nouns (women, children). Use only the apostrophe for proper nouns ending with s (Tess, Jesus, Texas) and regular plural nouns (cars, protestors).What are 10 examples of nouns plural in form but singular in meaning? ›
Some nouns—especially those ending in -s —although plural in form, are singular in number and in meaning: news, measles, mumps, calculus, rickets, billiards, molasses, dizziness, and other –ness ending nouns.What are 20 examples of proper noun? ›
- Cristiano Ronaldo.
- Nay Pyi Taw.
- Thomas Jefferson.
- 5.No official capital.
- Mike Bebee.
- Lake Ilmen.
Fork, dish, goat, dove, man, child, boat, ship, ambulance, water bottle are 10 examples of common nouns.
Some nouns do not have plural forms because they cannot be counted. These are called noncount nouns, or mass nouns. Some common noncount nouns are water, rice, sand, butter, mud, rain, advice, homework, progress, and music.What are three plural nouns? ›
It refers to the count of more than one of a noun or pronoun. Example: pens, tables, aunts, fathers, geese, etc.
If you're referring to several species of fish, though, the regular plural “fishes” is often used instead. For example, “The aquarium contains many different fishes, including trout and carp.”How many types of plural nouns are there? ›
When using many, the noun will always be plural. The following examples show how much and many are used.What are basic plurals? ›
A plural noun is the form of a noun used to show there is more than one person, place, thing, or idea. Most nouns simply add –s or –es to the end to become plural.What are incorrect plurals? ›
Irregular plural nouns are nouns that do not become plural by adding -s or -es, as most nouns in the English language do. You're probably familiar with many of these already. For example, the plural form of man is men, not mans. The plural form of woman is women, not womans.What is the first rule of plural? ›
He must have no family-no wife, no children. We are his family. If any of the rules are broken, it is punishable by death.How do you pluralize a family name? ›
You usually make family names plural by adding an “s” to the end. However, if the name ends in "s," “x,” "z," “ch,” or “sh,” you usually add an “es” instead (but there are exceptions). The plural of “mother-in-law” is “mothers-in-law.” The plural of “Mister” is ““Messieurs,” which is abbreviated “Messrs.”
The important thing to remember is that Thomas is singular. When you're talking about more than one, you first form that plural by adding -ES. One Thomas, two Thomases. Then, to note that something is owned by more than one Thomas, just take the plural and make it possessive: Thomases'.How do you make a last name plural and possessive? ›
For showing family possession with surnames that are plural and possessive, make the name plural first by adding an “s” and then add an apostrophe to make them possessive. The Smiths' car was parked illegally. (The car belonged to Mr. and Mrs.How do you use S with multiple names? ›
A less-often faced decision involves the use of apostrophes where multiple owners are named. Where two or more people own one item together, place an apostrophe before an "s" only after the second-named person.How do you pluralize a family name that ends in s? ›
Rule: To form the plural of a last name that ends with an s, add an es. To form the possessive of the plural, add an apostrophe. The Dennises are a nice family.Do you put an apostrophe in the plural of a family name? ›
When making your last name plural, you don't need to add an apostrophe! The apostrophe makes the name possessive. The last letter of your last name will determine if you add an “-s” or an “-es”. If your last name ends in -s, -z, -ch, -sh, or -x, you add -es to your last name to make it plural.What is the plural of cow? ›
1 cow /ˈkaʊ/ noun. plural cows.What is the plural of fly? ›
plural flies. 1. : a winged insect. 2. : two-winged fly.What is the plural of wolf? ›
noun. plural wolves /ˈwʊlvz/What are 10 examples of apostrophe sentences? ›
- It's a nice day outside. ( contraction)
- The cat is dirty. Its fur is matted. ( possession)
- You're not supposed to be here. ( contraction)
- This is your book. ( possession)
- Who's at the door? ( contraction)
- Whose shoes are these? ( possession)
- They're not here yet. ( contraction)
- Their car is red. ( possession)
Answer and Explanation: The two types of apostrophes are apostrophes of possession and contraction. Possessive apostrophes indicate ownership of something, like in the following sentence: "Amelie's house is at the end of the lane." Contraction apostrophes are used to shorten words.
The possessive of a singular noun is formed by adding 's (whatever the final consonant). Note that some consider Jesus to be an exception to this rule and insist that its possessive be written Jesus'; other exceptions may include other ancient proper names.Is it Jess or Jess's? ›
In English, the possessive of every singular noun--even singular nouns that end in "s"--is formed by "apostrophe s" with one curious exception (which I'll get to in a moment). Thus "Joe's bike" and "Jess's bike" are both correct but "Jess' bike" is incorrect.What is the plural of Kennedy? ›
Kennedy (countable and uncountable, plural Kennedys)What is the plural of Alexis? ›
Alexis (plural Alexises)Is it Travis or Travis's? ›
This is Travis's house. (correct and sounds better) This is Travis' house. (correct but awkward-sounding)What is the rule for names ending in s with apostrophe? ›
Second, a name ending in s takes only an apostrophe if the possessive form is not pronounced with an extra s. Hence: Socrates' philosophy. Saint Saens' music.Do you use an apostrophe for plural with a proper noun? ›
Quick Use: Use an apostrophe + s for singular nouns (sea, sky), common nouns ending with s (tigress, mistress), and irregular plural nouns (women, children). Use only the apostrophe for proper nouns ending with s (Tess, Jesus, Texas) and regular plural nouns (cars, protestors).How do you make a proper noun possessive that ends in s? ›
Most experts and guides say you should add an apostrophe and an S to both proper and common nouns to make them possessive even when they end in S. So, using the examples above, it would be: Chris's car. the crocus's petals.How do you make a proper noun possessive? ›
A proper noun refers to a specific person, like the American president, or place, like New York. All nouns become possessive nouns with the addition of an apostrophe and a suffix—the letter “s”—at the end of the word.What word is used as a noun but always plural? ›
There is a small group of nouns that exist only in the plural form, for example: clothes, pants, scissors, shorts, thanks, trousers.
Forming a Plural Possessive Noun
After you have formed the plural of the noun, add an apostrophe (') if the plural noun ends in -s or -es: strings', cars', churches', loaves'. If the plural noun does not end in -s, add an apostrophe and an s: mice's, men's, feet's.
- My parents were born in the 1960's. They both have PhD's.
- My parents were born in the 1960s. They both have PhDs.
The way you should write James in the possessive form depends upon the style guide you are using for writing the English language. If you're going with The Associated Press Stylebook, James' is the correct way of writing James in the possessive form. But, for all other style guides, James's is the way to go.What is the plural form of James? ›
Like any noun ending in S, the plural adds -ES, so one James, two Jameses. For possessive, just add an apostrophe: Jameses'. This formation common for last names (“keeping up with the Joneses' spending habits”) but can also be used for first names.What are 10 possessive examples? ›
The independent possessive pronouns are mine, ours, yours, his, hers, its, and theirs. The possessive adjectives, also called possessive determiners, are my, our, your, his, her, its, and their.What is the rule for apostrophe s? ›
An apostrophe is a small punctuation mark ( ' ) placed after a noun to show that the noun owns something. The apostrophe will always be placed either before or after an s at the end of the noun owner. Always the noun owner will be followed (usually immediately) by the thing it owns.Is a pair of jeans plural or singular? ›
It's only one pair, so "pair" is singular. Pairs of jeans. I bought three pairs of jeans. “The jeans are on the chair.What is a noun that can't be plural? ›
Some nouns do not have plural forms because they cannot be counted. These are called noncount nouns, or mass nouns. Some common noncount nouns are water, rice, sand, butter, mud, rain, advice, homework, progress, and music.