Pluralization 101

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Posted by admin 02/07/2015 0 Comment(s)

As a follow up to our Monogram 101 blog post, we thought it'd also be helpful to share some tips on how to properly pluralize last names, especially on those tricky ones ending in 'S', 'X', or the ever elusive 'Z' that seem to never look quite right.


Well fret no more friends, here is our go-to guide for name pluralization and possession!


No matter how right it feels to add an apostrophe in order to pluralize a last name, don't. Apostrophes are for possessives, not personalizations! The members of the Johnson and Smith families, for instance, are the Johnsons and the Smiths, NOT the Johnson’s and the Smith’s.


For those with last names ending in 'Y' such as Kennedy, it might seem proper to change the 'Y' out for an '-ie' this is in fact not correct. The appropriate pluralization of these names is to leave them as-is and simply add an '-s' to the end. Using Kennedy as an example, it would become The Kennedys. 


Though it may be tempting to change a name like 'Spellman' to 'Spellmen' in order to pluralize, this is not the case. For names that have a singular noun in the ending, like '-man' for example, all that is needed in order to pluralize is, again, just to add an 's', otherwise you're changing someone's last name, and they're probably not going to be too happy about that! So from our example, Spellman would become The Spellmans. See, that wasn't too hard! 


Ok, so now that we've got the easy ones out of the way, lets move onto the more difficult last names that leave you scratching your head on how to pluralize. The rule for last names ending in 'S', 'Z', 'X', 'CH', and 'SH' is to simply add an '-es' in order to turn into their plural form. Some examples of this would include:

  • Jones = The Joneses 
  • Fox = The Foxes 
  • Sanchez = The Sanchezes.
  • Church = The Churches
  • Ash = The Ashes 

If you (understandably) find The Joneses, or The Sanchezes a little too awkward, you should consider rewording to avoid the plural. For instance, The Joneses can become The Jones Family. 


Hopefully this post will help you from creating new last names for you or your friends, just remember, NO APOSTROPHES!



The flip side of this post comes the personalization angle. So let's say you want to make a cutting board for Doris and you want it to say Doris's kitchen but realize after typing it that something looks odd. Most of my scholastic career I thought for anything ending in -s to make it a possessive, you just need to add an apostrophe at the end, this is now however a highly debated practice.


Some style books say never add the s after an apostrophe, while others say always do it. Some say that the rule is to only use an apostrophe and no s when the s of the name/word isn't pronounced such as Arkansas, so the correct way to show Arkansas owns something is to format it like Arkansas's, whereas with Texas, it'd look super weird to say Texas's (though this is how you'd pronounce it) and instead would just write Texas'.


So as much as I wish I could tell you one is correct over the other, this just simply is not the case. Without splitting hairs here, I would say go with your gut and use whichever one looks and feels right to you in whichever case you find yourself using it. 



If you're still a little unclear on the ins-and-outs of pluralization for personalization, don't hesitate to contact us, we're here to help!





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