General Question

srmorgan's avatar

Proper use of the apostrophe using proper names?

Asked by srmorgan (6768points) September 12th, 2010

At an art studio yesterday, one of the students was making a ceramic nameplate and carved into it: The Cameron’s.
She was making it for her in-laws, the Camerons.

Is the use of the apostrophe correct gramatically? Is the apostrophe commonly used, as I believe it is?

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12 Answers

St.George's avatar

If the nameplate is to denote ownership then I suppose it would be correct – The Cameron’s what? “The Cameron’s house.” If it is to indicate who lives there, then “The Camerons” would be correct

SundayKittens's avatar

It is incorrect. Shudder. It would be wrong either way,@megan64, since there is more than one Cameron.
It should be “The Camerons” (as you said) or “The Camerons’ House” (which is awkward).
A friend of mine makes signs like these and says people get nervous if you don’t add that apostrophe. Ughhhh.

St.George's avatar

Yes. @SundayKittens is correct “The Cameron’s House.” Duh on my part.

Jeruba's avatar

Not “The Cameron’s House” unless you are referring to the house of one person who is referred to as “The Cameron.”

If you are referring to the house that belongs to the Camerons (plural), you add an apostrophe to the plural: “The Camerons’ House.”

If it is just a reference to the family (and not to their house), it’s the plural: “The Camerons.” No apostrophe at all.

CaptainHarley's avatar

What Jeruba said! : )

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Response moderated (Off-Topic)
SundayKittens's avatar

Our answers are the same, but @jeruba’s is much more eloquent!
Let’s wail on The Cameron after gym, Arp!!!!

Jeruba's avatar

In the old Scottish and Irish clans, you might find the usage “the Wallace,” “the MacGregor,” “the Bruce,” etc., to refer to the chief. Perhaps “the Cameron” was claiming to be a chief. We would not ordinarily see “the” with a singular surname otherwise.

anartist's avatar

She should write “the Camerons” since she is identifying them, not any of their possessions.
Unlike what @Jeruba is suggesting above, “the Cameron” probably not be well-received. The wife would protest. That acknowledges only the senior male in the household.

Using the apostrophe this way is a common mistake, and may eventially officially degrade the language,

Jeruba's avatar

What I was suggesting above? Hardly. I was responding to @Dr_C‘s remark: I knew a guy in High School that people called “The Cameron”. I made the point that this is an old clan usage and is not likely to be seen for any other purpose—certainly not for identifying a household.

This was my answer to the question: If it is just a reference to the family (and not to their house), it’s the plural: “The Camerons.” No apostrophe at all. In other words, your response, @anartist, is exactly what I did suggest above.

Strauss's avatar

Lurve to “THE Jeruba!”

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