Jane’s grammar nugget: Bits and pieces

Jane StrausJane Straus, author of The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation, is back as a guest at our blog.

Today, Jane covers more ground as she helps us make sense of three more grammar bugs!

Jane says many people have been taught incorrectly, so hopefully she can help us unlearn our bad grammar habits!

Plural or possessive titles?

Is it Mother’s Club? Mothers’ Club? Mothers’ Club?

In a title, you may think of the noun as a plural or as a plural possessive. So Mothers Club or Mothers’ Club would both be correct.

Apostrophes with words ending in s

Is it class’ opinion or class’s opinion or classes’ opinion?

If you mean one class, it should be class’s opinion. If you mean more than one class, it should be classes’ opinion(s).

Rule 2 of Apostrophes from The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation says: Place the apostrophe before the s to show singular possession.

    Examples: one class’s opinion; one girl’s opinion; Ms. Jones’s opinion; Mr. Cross’s opinion.

Rule 3 says: To show plural possession, make the noun plural first. Then use the apostrophe.

    Example: The classes’ opinions were predicatable according to their grade levels.
    Example: The girls’ opinions differed.
    Example: The Joneses’ house survived the flood.
    Example: The Crosses’ house survived the flood.

Quoting a Question within a Question

When quoting a question within a question, where does the question mark go? Is the following correct?

Didn’t she say, “How did you do that?”?

In The Blue Book of Grammar and PunctuationRule 3 of Quotation Marks says: When you have a question outside quoted material AND inside quoted material, use only one question mark and place it inside the quotation mark.

    Example: Did she say, “May I go?”
    Example: Didn’t she say, “How did you do that?”

Reprinted by permission of Jane Straus, author of the bestselling The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation, from her free Grammarbook.com e-newsletters and blogs.

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From Kim

Thanks again to Jane for sharing from her wealth of knowledge!

We love The Blue Book so much that we’ve been carrying it for years in the WriteShop store. We also include it in the WriteShop Starter Pack. It’s a combination reference book and workbook, oh so easy to use, and handy for home or office. Jane’s examples are short, simple, and practical. We know you’ll love it too! Want to read some reviews? Just click here. And to read more of Jane’s Grammar Nuggets, type “Jane” in the search box above.

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