DeSantis’ Memos versus DeSantis’s Memos
It’s generally the case that punctuation rules tend to be applied across the board. Here’s a common rule: “Start a sentence with a capital letter.” Everyone knows this rule. There is no controversy involved when beginning a sentence with a capital letter — unless you’re bell hooks, which only goes to show there can be exceptions to almost anything.
But for our purposes here, we are faced with a simply reality, in English: There are twenty-six letters in the alphabet, and if you want to denote the possessive case when a word is in the singular case (note the plural: “the kittens’ toys”), you add an apostrophe and an s: Harrison’s guitar, Lennon’s harmonica, McCartney’s bass, Starr’s drums, and so on for all the other letters in the alphabet — except for…s? Why is s exempted from this rule as is so often the case with many (but not all) publications? To wit:
DeSantis’ Disney chief suggests ethics commission ‘weaponized’ memo
DeSantis’ appointees ask judge to rule against Disney without need for trial
No. It’s not “DeSantis’ Disney chief”; it should be “DeSantis’s Disney chief.” It’s not “DeSantis’ appointees”; it should be “DeSantis’s appointees.”
Some people will argue that the dropped s is done to avoid an issue with sibilance. Really? I’m supposed to keep track of how a word sounds when deciding whether or not to use an apostrophe s? This is madness. If an apostrophe s is needed to indicate the possessive case, then this rule should be applied everywhere, whether it’s John’s guitar, Paul’s harmony, or DeSantis’s human trafficking. Listen to how the following examples sound when spoken: Alexis’s apple, Lucas’s father, or Thomas’s engine. What you hear is Alexis-izz apple, Thomas-izz engine, Lucas-izz father. The sound of that “izz” is the sound of a possessive s being said. If you didn’t utter the “-izz,” you’d get Alexis apple, Lucas father, and Thomas engine. Right? Nobody would say Lucas father to indicate the possessive case, but they will say Lucas-izz father. Say the s, spell the s. Sibilance is irrelevant.
I’ve also seen it argued that you don’t need the apostrophe s for proper names. What is the logic behind that arbitrary rule? There…