Why I use “‘s” for the possessive form of all singular nouns, even those ending in “s”

While it is universal in the English language for the possessive form of plural nouns to be written with just a following apostrophe, there is a debate on whether just a following apostrophe, or a following apostrophe followed by the letter “s”, should be used to denote the possessive form of singular nouns whose final letter of the nominative form is “s”.

In 2007, the Arkansas State Legislature passed a non-binding resolution deeming the possessive form of the state’s name, which is a singular proper noun, to be “Arkansas’s”, with the “‘s” denoting the possessive form of the state’s name. The name of my home state of Illinois also ends with the letter “s”, although usage of “Illinois'” as the possessive form seems to be more common than “Illinois’s”. It is important to note that, in the nominative forms of “Arkansas” and “Illinois”, the final “s” is silent, but, in the possessive form of each, the final “s” is articulated. Although this blog is based in Illinois, this blog complies with the Arkansas resolution, meaning that the possessive forms of “Arkansas” and “Illinois” is spelled “Arkansas’s” and “Illinois’s”, respectively.

However, the name of the state of Kansas is a singular proper noun ending in the letter “s”, which, unlike those of Arkansas and Illinois, is articulated in the nominative. It is, compared to singular nouns ending in a silent “s”, more common for the possessive form of a singular noun whose nominative form ends in an articulated “s” to be spelled with just a following apostrophe rather than with the “‘s”. This results in the possessive form of “Kansas” typically being written as “Kansas'”, without the “s” following the apostrophe. However, unlike the possessive forms of “Arkansas” and “Illinois”, the possessive form of “Kansas” has an additional syllable compared to its nominative form. The nominative form of “Kansas” is pronounced KAN-z·s (note that the interpunct denotes a vowel sound like the vowel sound represented by “a” in “about”), whereas the possessive form is pronounced KAN-z·s-·z, with the possessive ending being pronounced as a full syllable. If one were to write the possessive form of “Kansas” as “Kansas'”, an apostrophe would represent an entire syllable. Therefore, I prefer to write the possessive form of “Kansas” as “Kansas’s”.

It would seem, at least to me, rather awkward to use the longer form of indicating the possessive in writing (i.e., “‘s”) for singular nouns ending with a silent “s” in the nominative and an articulated “s” in the possessive, but use the shorter form of indicating the possessive in writing (i.e., just the trailing apostrophe) for nouns ending with an articulated “s” in the nominative, which requires an additional syllable to articulate the possessive form. As a result, this blog uses the “‘s” form of writing the possessive form of all singular nouns, as well as plural nouns that do not end in a silent or articulated “s”, and uses the apostrophe-only form of writing the possessive form of plural nouns that end in a silent or articulated “s”.