If I want to use the plural of "moderator" and also add the apostrophe plus S, how do I pronounce it? How do native speakers pronounce it?

  1. Moderators = moderatorz
  2. Moderators's = moderatorziz or just moderatorz?

A sentence is:

"I always thought that moderators's decisions seemed fairly arbitrary." (from Meta StackExchange)

I guess moderatorziz is correct but it sounds weird to me. Do native speakers pronounce it as moderatorziz?

  • 4
    That’s not the rule for possession. The correct word is moderators’. ell.stackexchange.com/q/51237/41273 – Laurel Nov 30 '20 at 13:32
  • @Laurel Please see the sentence I just added. If it is moderators', then how do you "pronounce" it? – Sphinx Nov 30 '20 at 13:34
  • The moderators' decision. It is just pronounced like the plural noun: moderators. It's like any other possessive plural except for ones that end in z or s. – Lambie May 7 at 14:31

First of all, the construct "s's" is not used here. The plural possessive for "moderator" is simply "moderators'". For example:

"The moderators' instructions were helpful as we progressed along the journey."

The pronunciation of moderators and moderators' is identical with the the meaning having to be discerned from the context. In both cases there is a single 's' sound not a doubled sound like you have suggested.

I'll note that even for native speakers the meaning can be unclear between "moderator's" and "moderators'" when speaking. So it can be helpful to choose a different sentence structure to help convey your meaning. For example:

"There were several moderators along the journey and their instructions were helpful."

  • I actually chose this example for the sake of "pronunciation". I'm curious to know the pronunciation. ;-) – Sphinx Nov 30 '20 at 13:37
  • 1
    I covered that in my answer. – jwh20 Nov 30 '20 at 13:37
  • I upvoted and will accept it if no other answers were posted – Sphinx Nov 30 '20 at 13:38
  • 2
    @jwh20 Good answer. I think Sphinx is requesting a clear, bulleted item that is easily extracted from your answer in addition to the valuable supporting information. Something along lines of Both are pronounced moderators. Currently you only say they are pronounced the same but now how they are pronounced. – EllieK Nov 30 '20 at 14:01
  • It's words ending in s or z that cause the issue. Not anything else. Jones and Fernandez. – Lambie May 7 at 14:39

To me, moderators's is a misspelling. Therefore, if I were reading a text and came across the word moderators's in that text, I would ignore the misspelling and pronounce it as though it were written as moderators' (which is pronounced exactly the same as just moderators, with no apostrophe).

The same goes for other misspellings, too. If I were reading a text and came across the phrase "I was looking out the widnow," then that would clearly be a misspelling of "window," and so I would simply read that word as "window."

  • Thanks for this answer! – Sphinx May 10 at 10:29

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