Do you know when to use an apostrophe after the letter Z? The reality is that most people struggle with this basic grammar concept. There are a few tricky rules that you need to understand to do this right. In this article, we’ll discuss all the rules surrounding the use of an apostrophe after z.
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Apostrophe After Z Rules
It’s only an apostrophe…how tricky can it be? We’ll follow these simple rules and it can be quite simple! The English language is full of unique punctuation rules. There are even punctuation rules that apply to individual words. For example, there are rules on how to punctuate “however” correctly in your writing.
1) Make It Plural
To make a word ending in Z plural, you need to add “es”. Here are some examples to illustrate this rule:
- Singular: The teacher gave me my quiz. Plural: The teacher handed out quizzes to the entire class.
- Singular: Mark Sanchez is coming over for dinner. Plural: The Sanchezes are coming over for dinner.
- Singular: Mr. Santinez drove to the grocery store to grab dinner. Plural: The Santinezes drove to the supermarket to grab dinner.
Rule: Add “es” to words or proper nouns ending in Z to make them plural.
2) Singular Possession
To transform a singular noun into the possessive form, add an apostrophe & “s” after the z. Here are some examples:
- Singular: Chaz has a beautiful cat. Singular Possessive: Chaz’s cat is the most beautiful cat in the world.
- Singular: Sanchez owns a baseball bat. Singular Possessive: Sanchez’s baseball bat is the most expensive on the entire team.
- Singular: Martinez drives to work every day in a red car. Singular Possessive: Martinez’s bright red car stands out like a sore thumb in the parking lot.
Our post about the word business’s showed how the apostrophe should be used in this case!
Rule: Add ‘ + S after the z to create singular possessive nouns.
3) Plural Possessive Form
There is a two-step process to creating the plural possessive form of a noun ending in z:
- Add es after the Z to make the noun plural
- Add the apostrophe
Here are some examples:
- Plural: The Hernandezes are coming over for dinner. Plural Possessive: The Hernandezes’ chicken is the best-tasting food in California.
- Plural: The Diazes are the best fighters in the UFC. Plural Possessive: The Diazes’ merchandise is the most popular with UFC fans.
- Plural: The Sanchezes are the richest family in Oaklahoma. Plural Possessive: The Sanchezes’ car collection is the most impressive in the state of Oklahoma.
Remember, spelling is just as important as punctuation. People who play crossword and scrabble might ask, is axel a scrabble word? The answer is yes. But don’t confuse the spelling with axle.
Rule: Add just an apostrophe to make the plural noun into the possessive form.
- If you wanted to indicate that Mr. Hernandez owned a bag of apples, you might say “Mr. Herdandez’s bag of apples.” In this example, the original proper noun is Mr. Hernandez, and the correct proper noun is Mr. Hernandez’s.
- The Sanchezes are coming over for dinner. In this example, we added es after the Z to form the plural form of the noun. This is the correct form as it indicates that more than one member of the Sanchez family was coming over for dinner. No apostrophe after z is required.
- The Vasquezes’ dogs are the most annoying in the neighborhood. In this example, the apostrophe was used to show plural possession.
You can also look at the words doctor or doctor’s appointment. Adding a single apostrophe can make a huge difference!
Try This Quiz
State which sentence you think correctly follows the apostrophe after z rules. Fill out your answers on a separate sheet of paper. Don’t cheat! Look at the answer key below after you have given it your best shot.
- Which sentence is correct?
A: Mr. Sanchez’s brother is a great baseball player.
B: Mr. Sanchez’ brother is a great baseball player.
2. Which sentence is correct?
A: The Sanchez’s are coming over for dinner.
B: The Sanchezes are coming over for dinner
3) Which sentence is correct?
A: Mr. Hernandez sister is a great softball player.
B: Mr. Hernandez’s sister is a great softball player.
4) True or False: To make a noun ending in Z into the plural possessive form, just add an apostrophe.
- False – Adding es plus an apostrophe after z is how you create the plural possessive form.
History of Possessive Apostrophe
The apostrophe is far from a new syntax or grammatical concept.
The apostrophe was originally used in English to indicate possession and ownership. However, over time its use has evolved and it is now often used to replace omitted letters in contractions (e.g. “can’t” = cannot).
The apostrophe originated from Old English and is still very popular today. Just like in the old days it is used for:
- Create plural nouns
- Show possession
- Create contractions
When it comes to creating possession, we usually add an S before or after the apostrophe. This depends on a variety of factors such as the word’s ending and tense.
Sentence Examples With Apostrophes
Here are 5 sentence examples of how to use apostrophes correctly in your writing.
- It’s time to leave for the airport if we want to catch our flight.
- John’s car is parked right outside the building.
- The dog’s tail wagged happily as its owner approached.
- I can’t believe it’s already Friday!
- The book’s cover was beautifully designed, catching the reader’s attention.
FAQs – Apostrophes
When a name ends in Z, you have two options to create the possessive form of the word. You can add an apostrophe after z + “s” or your can simply add an apostrophe. For example, “I took Mr. Sanchez’s pencil when he wasn’t looking” or “I took Mr. Sanchez’ pencil when he wasn’t looking.” Both are correct!
Martinez is a singular noun & Martinez’s is the singular possessive form of the noun. For example, you would say “Mr. Martinez was my favorite high school teacher” or “I got to school early and stole Mr. Martinez’s parking spot.”
Sanchez is a singular noun & Sanchez’s is the singular possessive form of the noun. For example, you would say “I am about to go on a run with Mr. Sanchez” or “My shoes are outdated so I stole Mr. Sanchez’s shoes when he wasn’t looking.”
Perez is a singular noun & Perez’s is the singular possessive form of the noun. For example, you would say “I just saw Perez at the movies” or “I took some of Perez’s popcorn when he wasn’t looking.”
Adding an apostrophe after z creates the singular possessive form of a word. For example, “Marquez’s cat is so beautiful.” If you want to make singular nouns into the plural form, add es and an apostrophe (ex: Sanchezes’).
To make plural names ending in Z possessive, add es and an apostrophe. For example: the possessive form of Sanchez is Sanchezes’. “The Sanchezes’ cat just ran into my yard.” To show singular possession, just add an apostrophe after z. “Mrs. Sanchez’s cat is so friendly.” Adding es and an apostrophe makes the proper noun into a possessive noun. This rule also holds true for classical and biblical names.
The Bottom Line
Apostrophes can be tricky things for many people. It can be especially confusing when it comes to using apostrophes after the letter Z. By following these simple rules, you can make sure that your apostrophes are used correctly. Let us know if you have any questions in the comments below!