Thursday, April 27, 2006

X's?

What is the proper procedure for giving ownership to a proper name that ends in an x?

For example, Jimi Hendrix has a song named Fire. How would I say that song is owned by Jimi Hendrix? Here are the three possibilities that I see:

a) Jimi Hendrix's Fire
b) Jimi Hendrix' Fire
c) Jimi Hendrices Fire

My first instinct was option (b), because the x makes a sound similar to an ending s. Kind of like if Lars owned an item it would be Lars' item, not Lars's item. But then I thought maybe since it's not an s, it just sounds like one, it would still have the s after the apostrophe. So in the end I think option (a) is right, but I still don't know for sure. Option (c) is just kinda silly, but I included it just for good measure.

10 comments:

Chaka said...

An intriguing question, Brandon. My intuition aligns with yours at option (b), since I would fear people would pronounce (a) /'hen.drIk.ses./ which would be awkward. But option (a) is perhaps more orthographically pleasing. I think we should consult the Chicago Manual of Style here. Is that available online?

Chaka said...

Well, the whole manual isn't available online, but given the information on their website(www.press.uchicago.edu), I'd say they prefer option (a). They even want you to put an apostrophe s after James and Iris, for Jeebus' sake.

Pirate Jimmy said...

What does Chicago know?!?! I'll consult Strunk and White perhaps...

Pirate Jimmy said...

According to Strunk and White's The Elements of Style, you always form the possessive singular of nouns by adding "'s" no matter the final consonant (i.e. Charles's friend). There are exceptions, such as ancient proper names endind in -es and -is (i.e. Jesus' book, Isis' temple), and forms like for conscience' sake. I forget I have this tool on my bookshelf.

Chaka said...

Who are these Shrunk and Whine people of whom you speak? I'm sticking with The University of Chicago Press on this one.

(By the way, our rival sources seem to agree here.)

(Bet S&W ripped it off from CMS)

Pirate Jimmy said...

The Elements of Style was originally was written as a textbook by professor William Strunk Jr. for the english classes he taught at Cornell. E.B. White was a student of Strunk's in 1919, he later revisited his professor's text in 1957 and it became Strunk and White's The Elements of Style. To quote White's 1979 introduction, "In its original form, it was a fort-three page summation of the case for cleanliness, accuracy, and brevity in the use of English." In its current form it's still under 100 pages. I trust it's authority.

Pirate Jimmy said...

*its authority

Pirate Jimmy said...

*forty-three

I wish comments could be edited.

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