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mirifique's avatar

How to punctuate a "double possessive" (e.g., McDonald's' prices are...)?

Asked by mirifique (1537points) February 16th, 2010

Is it “McDonald’s’”? Or does it collapse to just “McDonald’s prices”...? I’m assuming the latter, because “McDonald’s” is really just short for “McDonald’s restaurant.” Thoughts?

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19 Answers

bostonbeliever's avatar

definitely not.
why not just say, “the prices AT McDonald’s”?

tentaclepuppy's avatar

I’d just rephrase to avoid the whole issue.

Jeruba's avatar

Good one. I have edited a lot of very strange constructions, including citing a title that ends in a question mark, like this:

“What Were You Thinking?,” by L. Jacobellis

and I have never seen this come up before. I would write around it, using a prepositional phrase (such as @bostonbeliever suggested) or other construction, so that this never has to see the light of day.

essieness's avatar

I have no advice to offer the original poster, but when I saw @Jeruba crafting a response, I was imagining her just squirming in her chair.

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

Tentacle puppy and I do the same.

mirifique's avatar

@bostonbeliever @tentaclepuppy But that avoids the problem entirely! I do want to know what the correct form is because this does come up more often than not when comparing or talking about restaurants and bars. From a logical standpoint, I think the answer is just “McDonald’s”, because, historically speaking, it’s McDonald’s restaurant, and McDonald’s prices.

I’d also be interested in how this would be properly pronounced.

tentaclepuppy's avatar

@mirifique Ah. So you want the lexicographical, theoretical answer, not the down-in-the-ditches answer?

Treat it like “Taco Bell” , “Burger King” or any other singular noun:


Pronounced Mcdonaldses.

buckyboy28's avatar

Ouch. My brain hurts from thinking about this. Good question though.

Haleth's avatar

I went to the McDonald’s website to see if there were any examples of this. They just say “McDonald’s,” as in “McDonald’s Menu.”

filmfann's avatar

I would say McDonald’s.
It’s McDonald’s restaurant, McDonald’s hamburgers, and McDonald’s prices.
who would have thought Scottish Hamburgers would be so popular?

mirifique's avatar

@tentaclepuppy Yes I do. And I loved that you used the word ‘lexicographical.’ That brought a smile to my face.

tentaclepuppy's avatar

I bet you also don’t like adding the , at the end of quoting the title of something in the middle of a sentence, too.


“I just read a great article, “What Does Nemesis Mean?,” and I thought you might want to read it too…”


Jeruba's avatar

Say “McDonald’s Corporation’s prices.” Or use it attributively, as McDonald’s does in its own literature: McDonald’s common stock, McDonald’s purchase of products.

mirifique's avatar

@tentaclepuppy That does make me very sad, yes.

mirifique's avatar

@Jeruba Agreed. That’s what I think too.
Also, I should start learning to consolidate my responses. What do you call it when you respond with an ”@” anyway? A response? An attribution?

Jeruba's avatar

Consolidating responses is good, yes. And I think we just say we’re directing it “at” someone, or addressing someone.

loser's avatar

McDonald’s kills their chickens by throwing them in scalding hot oil.

lillycoyote's avatar

I either never learned the rule or found it so awkward that I have managed to keep the issue from coming up in my writing my whole life. Whatever the rule is, I’m with @bostonbeliever . You can avoid the whole issue by constructing your sentences around it with either/or something like “McDonald’s prices” or “the prices of McDonald’s products”, etc.

La_chica_gomela's avatar

No grammar contruction “double possessive” exists in English. As others have suggested, don’t use it. McDonald’s is already possessive. If it’s McDonald’s Restaurant’s prices, that’s what it is, if it’s McDonald’s Corporation’s prices, go with that. Just say it a different way.

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