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Carolyn J.

Thank you for posting this. I was just wondering about this question myself!


Great - I just had a discussion with my partner and I guess I won! I was on the men's side ;) !


Thank you so much! Finally this makes sense to me. What about lady's vs. ladies'? Did they use to add "ies" to everything too. Smile, smilies? Thx!

Maria Davidson

You have that lady's purse. We are going to the ladies meeting at church. They are two different things. Ladies, meaning a lot of women and lady's, meaning possessive..


Hi, Maria--

Yes, "ladies" is the plural of "lady," but when something belongs to a lot of ladies, we need to add an apostrophe to show possession: "We are going to the ladies' meeting at church." That is, the meeting OF the ladies at church.

And for the commenter just before you: When a noun ends with a consonant + y, like lady or army or dynasty, we change it to ies when we make it a plural: ladies, armies, dynasties.

We don't do it when the noun ends with a vowel + y, like monkey or tray: monkeys, trays.

But if it's a proper noun ending in a consonant + y, like Murphy or Kennedy, we just add s: The Murphys are coming to dinner. The Kennedys are one of the great American political dynasties.

Vernon Bird

Okay, somebody tell my spell check.

Charlie Parkinson

I'm struggling with the 'men's shirts'.

What if it was the men's shirts' buttons were coming off.

Is it mens' or can 'men' never have an s apostrophe after it because it's already a plural noun.

Thank you!

Account Deleted

"What if it was the men's shirts' buttons were coming off."

Consider rephrasing: The buttons on the men's shirts were unraveling.

This avoids any confusion regarding two continuous possessives and helps you avoid a hanging preposition.

Dave Manser

I guess the same logic would apply for "Gent's Gifts", ie. the apostrophe between the "t" and the "s" of "Gents". Thanks for the help, this one had me stuck!

Account Deleted

1.) It should be Men's Locker Room.
2.) It should be Mens' Locker Room.

(singular word)'s : be used in singular meaning
(plural word)' : be used in plural meaning

...If you use "men" , it show "plural".

**[Thus,the first sentence is wrong and the second sentences is wrong too because "men" already show "plural", so you don't put "s"after the word "men"]**

>>> *** It should be Men' Locker Room. ***

......................(is correct sentence)..................

Scott Seigel

Pricey Pearl,
I used to teach English as a foreign language professionally (in Korea and Germany). Your comment sounds like one a foreign speaker might make. That's because you apparently can't internally hear what's right. Plural possessives are hard for native English speakers, so don't feel bad; however, there is no prohibition with appending an 's to a plural word in order to indicate possession.


Wouldn't 'Mens Room' without the apostrophe also be correct as rather than a room belonging to men, men is acting as an attributive noun? You rarely see Men's Room on a sign. Happy to be proven wrong, but I would not put an apostrophe here.

Dipra Sarkhel

then what about GIRLS' AND GIRL'S?????????obviously embarrassing..


Would that not also be a "Contraction"? I.E. Do Not Don't. Can Not Can't. That Is That's. So wouldn't Men's be... Men Is?.....


No more than "Vincent's comment" is a contraction of "Vincent is comment." The apostrophe-s and s-apostrophe indicate possession, whether singular or plural, and when the plural itself in an archaic one like "men" and "women," we treat the plural noun as if it were singular.

Glad to see this issue is still alive and kicking, almost ten years after I posted about it!

Matthew Miller

We have been having this debate at work for years now (work for a sign manufacturer). I understand that on a sign that says MEN'S LOCKERS, the apostrophe goes after the N due to it's already a plural and shows possession. But is the apostrophe necessary since there are no other grammatical elements? It has to be all caps for accessibility compliance, no verbs, prepositions or even a dangling participle. So we only follow the one rule of the apostrophe. Maybe this is more of a question for the sign industry to answer, but I wanted to check in here first. Thanks


Thank you for asking about this.

For the possessive case, you need the apostrophe. From memory I do not know of any English word “mens”, although there may be some obscure noun “men” (related to “menhir”, perhaps?) of which it would be the plural, but not the possessive.
Every good wish for your English studies, https://wordmaker.info/starting-with/mens.html

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