Daily Archives: November 26, 2008

Grammar Wednesday

Another question offered by Dudley!  He’s really getting into this!

Mrs. Chili,

This one is a serious question.  It’s not a beef.  It has to do with titles like Attorney General, or Mother In Law.  If we have more that one, it’s Attorneys General or Mothers In Law; HOWEVER, how to we write the possessive?

Is it the Attorney General’s briefcase or is it the Attorney’s General briefcase?

If we’re only talking about ONE Attorney General, then it would be “the Attorney General’s briefcase.”  If there’s more than one, though- if they ALL forgot their luggage in the board room – then we’d say
the Attorneys General’s briefcases.”

The same rule would apply if there were a convention of, say, mothers-in-law and they all, like my mother-in-law is prone to do, walked out of the banquet hall with their napkins tucked into their belts.  “The mothers-in-law’s napkins were reported as stolen by the kitchen staff.”

This form of possessive is so rare, though, as to almost never get used.


Filed under Grammar