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1) Alex's house

2) Alex' house

When the noun ends with the letter 's' or 'x', do I need to put 's' after an apostrophe or not?

I remember I read some rules related to this in my school grammar book, but now I've forgotten it.

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I've never heard this rule applied to 'X', though it is true for 'S'. –  WendiKidd May 12 '13 at 17:41
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4 Answers

up vote 5 down vote accepted

X-case

Use the regular apostrophe s: "Alex's" is correct.

S-case

Any name whose last syllable is pronunced with a long eez sound should have just the apostrophe, whereas others have apostrophe s: "Jones's", "Menzies's", "Kents's", "Jesus's", "Xerxes'" and "Euripides'" are correct.

Reference: Huddleston, R. Introduction to the Grammar of English, Cambridge University Press

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I have never heard of an apostrophe following an x with no s following it. One would certainly say "Alex's" and not "Alex'." For names ending in the letter s, either just ' or 's is acceptable, although I believe that 's is more common with the plain ' being reserved for plurals that end in s. For example, one would say "That is Dolores's car," but you would say "That is the lions' pen."

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Yes, there is a rule saying that if somebody's name ends in 's' (not sure whether it is applicable to 'x' too), you can use either Charles' or Charles's and pronounce those forms accordingly - possessive apostrophes.

But to be on the safe side, I suggest using the Alex's form.

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User114 is correct, but the explanation could be better. Use the 's if you add a vowel sound to the word to pronounce the possessive, whether or not the word is plural. If you say "Jones's" out loud, it has two syllables. If I had two young sons, I might refer to their shared bedroom as the kids' room.

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