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semantic nuance

English pronunciations of apostrophe 's'

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semantic nuance

Hi,

 

A friend asked me about the pronunciations of apostrophe 's'. I'm not a native speaker of English, and would like to ask you for help.

 

 

How is each 's' in blue pronounced?

 


a. Grace’s gift

b. Josh’s pet

c. Jess’s mom
 

 

Should I say 'Jess's mom' pronounced as 'Jess mom' or 'Jess s mom'?


Thanks in advance.

 
 

 

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Tiana

I'd say as if they are Graces, Joshes and Jesses (pronounce the last "s" in them as /z/). But you may like to wait for second opinion :)

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li3wei1

I would pronounce all of them as 'iz'. Sorry I don't know IPA.

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semantic nuance

Thanks, Tiana, and li3wei1. :)

 

Any rules about this kind of pronunciation?

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Tiana

I don't know if there are rules about these, but let me try to (re-)invent one:

If you already know how to pronounce the plural form of words with such endings (i.e., Graces, Joshes and Jesses), then do the same when they're in the possessive form.

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li3wei1

If your neighbors on either side are both called Jones, and one night they both throw loud parties, and you want to say that the Joneses's parties kept you up all night, how do you pronounce that?

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Tiana

For "Joneses's parties", I would write "Joneses' parties" and pronounce it like a plural. Anyone does it differently?

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semantic nuance

A related question: When do people use ' instead of 's? For example, Charles' car? Is there any rule? How to distinguish 's from '?

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889

If the s is there to make the word plural, then the possessive is s' not s's. E.g., "My parents' house."

For extra credit, there's also the rule against three sibillants. So it's "Jesus' followers" and "the boss' serfs," even though three sibillants are actually pronounced. Note that this rule is not always followed.

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Tiana
Note that this rule is not always followed

 

That's true. Although non-native speakers will try their best to learn the rules, native speakers do have the prerogative to have variations. The same in all languages  :D

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semantic nuance

Thanks for all of your help!! Much appreciated!

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