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  • Writer's pictureSteve Gamel

Pluralizing Last Names: Are You Sure You Need That Apostrophe?

Updated: Jul 18, 2019

A common grammar mistake I see is when people feel the need to add a stray apostrophe when attempting to make their last name plural.

These flubs tend to pop up more during the holidays, as families rush to get their Christmas cards in the mail on time. They don't think anything of it when they write, "Merry Christmas from the Butler's!" But the truth is, they've added an apostrophe to a last name that, in this case, isn't supposed to be possessive.

I get that we are nowhere near the holidays, but this is still a worthwhile topic. I've noticed similar mistakes lately in the various printed and online materials that have come across my desk. So let's use this blog as a way to set the record straight on how to correctly pluralize your last name.

If the last letter of your last name ends in a, b, c, d, e, f, g, h, i, j, k, l, m, n, o, p, q, r, t, u, v, w, y ... simply add an s to the end of your name.


*The Butlers

*The Powells

*The Bedfords

*The Murphys

*The Gamels

If the last letter of your last name ends in s, x, z, ch, sh ... add an es to the end.


*The Joneses

*The Burches

*The Gonzalezes

*The Maddoxes

*The Ashes

Remember: the only time you add an apostrophe to a last name is if you are making your last name possessive. For example, "That is the Gamels' house on the corner."

Thanks for reading!

*STEVE GAMEL is the Owner/President of Edit This, a writing and editing services company located in Denton, TX. Along with being a sports writer for the Denton Record-Chronicle, Steve handles anything involving the written word. Give him a call today to help give your business a clear voice.

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