Thomas’ or Thomas’s?

In the realm of English grammar, the use of possessive apostrophes can sometimes lead to confusion, especially when it comes to names ending in “s.” One such instance arises with the possessive form of the name “Thomas.” Should it be written as “Thomas’s” or “Thomas’”? This question may stir debates among writers, editors, and language enthusiasts alike. Let’s delve into the intricacies of this grammatical conundrum.

Singular Possessive: Thomas’s

When a singular noun, including proper nouns like names, needs to indicate possession, the most common convention is to add an apostrophe followed by an “s.” This rule applies to the name “Thomas” as well.


  • Thomas’s car is parked in the driveway.
  • Sarah admired Thomas’s dedication to his work.
  • Thomas’s bookshelf was overflowing with novels.

In these instances, the apostrophe-s (‘s) indicates that the car, dedication, and bookshelf belong to Thomas.

Singular Possessive: Thomas’

Another acceptable form for singular possessives, particularly with names ending in “s,” is to simply add an apostrophe without an additional “s” after it. This usage is considered less common but is still widely recognized, especially in American English.


  • Thomas’ house is located on the outskirts of town.
  • The cat sat on Thomas’ lap for hours.
  • We admired Thomas’ artistic talents.

Here, the possessive form is denoted by the apostrophe alone, showing that the house, lap, and talents belong to Thomas.

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Plural Possessive: Thomases’

When dealing with plural nouns or names, where the base word ends in “s,” the convention is to add only an apostrophe after the “s” to indicate possession.


  • The Thomases’ vacation home is by the lake.
  • The Thomases’ children excel in academics.
  • We attended the Thomases’ anniversary celebration.

In these sentences, the apostrophe after “Thomases” signals that the vacation home, children, and anniversary celebration pertain to multiple individuals with the surname “Thomas.”


In summary, both “Thomas’s” and “Thomas’” are valid forms of the possessive depending on the style guide or personal preference. The former, with the apostrophe-s (‘s), is more commonly used and conforms to standard English grammar rules. However, the latter, with just the apostrophe, is also accepted, particularly in American English.

When in doubt, it’s advisable to consult a style guide or adhere to the guidelines of a specific publication. Consistency within a piece of writing or across a publication is key to maintaining clarity and readability. Whether you opt for “Thomas’s” or “Thomas’,” ensure that your choice aligns with the conventions you follow and communicates effectively with your audience

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