Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The Fundamental Rules for Making Your Last Name Plural

Kate Brannen writes:

The Definitive Guide to Pluralizing Your Last Name
Last letter(s) of last nameWhat should you add to make it plural?Does it need an apostrophe?
a, b, c, d, e, f, g, h (see exceptions below), i, j, k, l, m, n, o, p, q, r, t, u, v, w, y-sNO
s, x, z, ch, sh-esNO
Pluralization FAQs
Q: What if my last name ends in a Y? 
A: Add an S. Do not add -IES or an apostrophe.
Merry Christmas from the Murphys. 
Q: What if my last name already ends in an S? 
A: Add -ES. Do not add an apostrophe.
Season’s greetings from the Simmonses.
Q: What if the end of my last name normally functions as an irregular noun? 
A: It is not irregular when it is part of a last name.
Happy holidays from the Hoffmans. Warm wishes from the Wolfs. 
Q: What would adding an apostrophe do? 
A: It would hurt Tiny Tim make your last name possessive.
Q: Is there ever a reason to add an apostrophe? 
A: Only if you want to make your last name possessive.
Q: Why do people add apostrophes? 
A: I have no idea.
If your goal is to make your last name possessive, then, by all means, use an apostrophe. If your goal is simply pluralization, however, forgo the apostrophe. 


  1. Wonderful! But what if you want to make it plural AND possessive, as in "the Johnsons' Thanksgiving gathering"? Is that correct?

    1. Correct, Dwight.

      You never, ever use an apostrophe to make a plural, ever. It is only to be used to make a possessive or to denote a contraction, i.e., missing letters in a word.

      I learned this stuff early in grammar school and I'm not that old, i.e., mid 30s. I don't understand why this is so hard for people.