Bankers Boxes—A New Perspective
If you are talking about actual bankers, and the actual bankers have boxes, bankers’ boxes is what you want to write. Bankers’ is plural and possessive—that’s why you need an apostrophe after the s.
BUT, as one reader pointed out in a comment on my Plural Possessive—Bankers’ Boxes post, Bankers Box is a trademarked brand name, and when you refer to the actual boxes known by this name (and not the actual bankers), Bankers Boxes is what you want to write.
See the distinction? I do—now.
Thanks, catalinda8, for sharing your wisdom.
Plural Possessive—Bankers’ Boxes
I was asked this question today:
If John states in a report that he reviewed 3 “bankers boxes” of records, is the correct grammar “banker’s boxes,” “bankers’ boxes,” or “bankers boxes”? Should the “b” of bankers be capitalized? How about the “b” of boxes? Is it a proper name? What do you think?
Here is my response:
Since there are three bankers, bankers is plural, and to show possession for a plural word already ending in -s, you add the apostrophe after the -s:
three bankers’ boxes
Also, you should spell out three and any number less than 10—in most cases, anyway. There are some exceptions, though, like with ages.
Bankers’ boxes is not a proper noun, so no need to capitalize (unless Bankers’ starts a sentence, like it does in this instance).
Plurals and Possessives for Names Ending in ‘s’
I have a cousin named Charles. His sister, the mom of a Travis, asked me recently how to form plurals and possessives of these s-ending names. Here’s the scoop:
If you want to refer to more than one Charles or Travis, it’s Charleses and Travises.
There are two Charleses in my class.
I invited three Travises to my party.
If you want to use the possessive forms of these names, you’ve got two options: You can add an apostrophe at the end of each name, or you can add an apostrophe s.
It is Charles’ car.
It is Charles’s car.
It is Travis’ pencil.
It is Travis’s pencil.
It’s just a matter of style here, and you get to decide which possessive version you like best.
What about last names that end in s?
These need es to become plural (as do names that end in x, z, ch, and sh).
The Joneses invite you to their holiday party.
The Rosses won the contest.
The Finches are driving across the country.
Do not use an apostrophe for the plural form of a last name ending in s. Apostrophes are for possessives.
It was the Joneses’ holiday party.
Did you see the Rosses’ prize?
The Finches’ cross-country trip was a success.
All other last names, including those that end in y—just add an s. If possessive, add an apostrophe after the s.
The Taylors are at the amusement park.
The Corys have a nice house.
The Taylors’ drive home from the park was long.
The Corys’ house is beautiful.