From Graham King. (2000). Good Punctuation. p.69.

In some cases, especially with names, we have choices according to taste. We can add the final 's (Tom Jones's songs,Prince Charles's opinions) or drop it ( Wales' ruggedness, Dickens' characters,Jesus' teachings). And there are many cases which, for one reason or another, observe rigid tradition. For example it is Queens' College, Cambridge, but Queen's College, Oxford.

Should it be "For example it is not Queen's College, Oxford, but Queens' College, Cambridge." ?

If so, 'but' in the original sentence should have a negative meaning.

  • 1
    @TimR - it's fine. It is big dog but Snoop Dogg. Sep 24, 2023 at 14:28
  • 1
    @TimR I added more context, and it should be clear now.
    – Mr. Wang
    Sep 24, 2023 at 14:42
  • Didn't notice the apostrophe difference at first. Sep 24, 2023 at 14:42
  • But shows contrast, that's all. I just ate, but I'm hungry. Sep 24, 2023 at 14:49
  • 2
    @YosefBaskin Yes, but the contrast in this usage is one not of opposites but of difference or clarification. "You're right, it is vinegar, but apple vinegar. You can't remove scale from a coffee machine using apple vinegar." Sep 24, 2023 at 14:54

1 Answer 1


But in your sentence is used to introduce an added statement that is different from what the writer wrote before.

  1. There is a college called Queens' College in Cambridge - the name is punctuated with an apostrophe after Queens to form the correct plural possessive (of a number of queens).


  1. There is a college called Queen's College in Oxford (the name is punctuated with an apostrophe before the final 's' of Queen's to form the correct singular possessive (of one queen).

There is a historical reason for this difference. Queens' College is considered to have been founded twice, each time by a queen (by two queens): in 1448 by (queen) Margaret of Anjou and refounded in 1465 by the rival queen Elizabeth Woodville. This dual foundation is reflected in its orthography: Queens', not Queen's, although the full name is "The Queen's College of St Margaret and St Bernard, commonly called Queens' College, in the University of Cambridge".

Queen's College was founded in 1341 by Robert de Eglesfield in honour of one queen of England, Philippa of Hainault.

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