GrammarPhile Blog

More on Possessives

Posted by Phil Jamieson   Mar 9, 2010 5:00:00 AM

A few weeks ago, we posted an article about use of possessives with singular nouns. Here is some more advice about using possessives when dealing with brand or company names.

The names of many organizations and products contain words that could be considered either possessive or descriptive terms.

As a rule, use an apostrophe if the term is a singular possessive noun or an irregular plural noun.

  • McDonald's
  • McCall's
  • Harper's Bazaar
  • Women's Wear Daily
  • Children's Hospital
  • Levi's jeans
  • Macy's
  • Reese's Pieces

Do not use an apostrophe if the term is a regular plural.

  • American Bankers Association
  • Chemical Workers Union
  • U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
  • Ladies' Home Journal
  • Reader's Digest
  • Government Employees Insurance Company

In all cases, follow the organization's preference when known.

  • Investor's Management Services, Inc.
  • Lay's potato chips
  • Folger's coffee
  • Diners Club membership
  • Thomas' English muffins
  • Mrs. Paul's frozen foods
  • Mrs. Fields cookies
  • Taster's Choice
  • Bakers Choice
  • Lands' End catalog

When adding the sign of the possessive to a phrase that must be italicized or underlined, do not italicize or underline the possessive ending.

  • Gone With The Wind's main characters
  • The Wind in the Willows' author  

Source: The Gregg Reference Manual

Topics: possessives and brand names

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