Last Name Grammar Tips for Self Published Writers

I usually write about general topics related to editing rather than offering advice on specific on grammar issues. I highly recommend all self-published writers invest in hiring a professional editor to assist them with their books, but I also think that writers should be well-educated on writing, spelling, and grammar. After all, your editor will greatly appreciate a manuscript that is already professionally written.

One of the most common mistakes I see is the misuse of the plural and possessive “s” with last names. This is because almost every mailbox you see or Christmas card you receive is incorrect. Here are some examples on how to properly use the plural and possessive “s” with last names.

If it is strictly plural, do not use an apostrophe.

Ex. We ate dinner with Craig Wilson and the rest of the Wilsons.

Ex. I went shopping with Jill Jones to buy presents for the rest of the Joneses.

Ex. Paul English said all of the Englishes love Christmas.

If it is plural and possessive, it needs an apostrophe.

Ex. We ate at the Wilsons’ house.

Ex. We rode in the Englishes’ car.

If the name ends in an s, the plural possessive for book style is to add an apostrophe and an s.

Ex. The Jones’s house is painted white.

To show possession with singular names, simply add an apostrophe and an s.

Ex. Mike Wilson’s dad is a legend.

I’d love to know, what grammar issue is the most confusing to you? Please comment below.

ABOUT WENDY STETINA: Wendy Stetina is a sales and marketing professional with over 30 years experience in the printing and publishing industry. Wendy works as the Director of Author Services for Outskirts Press. The Author Services Department is composed of knowledgeable customer service reps and publishing consultants; and together, they all focus on educating authors on the self-publishing process in order to help them publish the book of their dreams. Whether you are a professional looking to take your career to the next level with platform-driven non-fiction, or a novelist seeking fame, fortune, and/or personal fulfillment, Wendy Stetina can put you on the right path.

One thought on “Last Name Grammar Tips for Self Published Writers

  1. I read a lot of indie books, and the error I see most frequently is the misuse of pique, peak, and peek. I find errors in traditionally published books too, but not nearly as often and the errors tend to be more subtle.

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