Add an apostrophe and a s or simply the apostrophe to produce the possessive of a name like Charles, James, or Harris. In formal writing, both styles are appropriate. For our trip, we borrowed Charles' boat, James' home, and Harris' automobile.
When you write about ownership, there are two ways to indicate that something is owned by someone else. You can use the word's, which means "of or relating to". So, Mary's house, school, and office are all examples of things that are owned by Mary. If you want to indicate that someone else owns something, you can write about it in the past tense or present perfect tense. In the past tense, you write that someone owned something; in the present perfect tense, you write that something has been owned by someone.
Harris is the surname of three people who have been president of the United States: John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and William Henry Harrison. All three men had children, so under normal circumstances any one of them could have been involved in owning a car, a boat, or even a baseball team. However, since no one ever claimed ownership of anything they gave permission for their friends to borrow their possessions, so each man used only one of these items during his presidency. Therefore, it can be assumed that neither the boat nor the automobile belonged to any of the presidents after they were borrowed from friend or family member to use on a trip.
You may add an apostrophe and a s or just an apostrophe to produce the possessive of a name like Charles or Harris. This rule also applies to words ending in s, x, and z.
According to the AP, proper names like James should only have an apostrophe: He borrowed James' automobile. Add an apostrophe + S to generics like "boss": He borrowed the boss's automobile. There is one exception: if the next word begins with an S, use simply an apostrophe. In this case, it means that he borrowed the man's automobile.
The AP style includes unique rules for proper names and generic nouns for forming the possessive of a word ending in S. According to the AP, proper names like James should only have an apostrophe: He borrowed James' automobile. But if the name is made up of words that are separate entities, then they need to be separated with hyphens: Jim's car. James Dean was an American actor who became a cultural icon through his role as Jeff Bogard in the 1986 martial arts film The Cannonball Run II.
According to the AP, words like house, ship, school, store, and hospital are not possessive forms because they are not derived from names. They are called "common" nouns.
However, words like poem, essay, and novel are considered "special" nouns because they are formed by combining other words to describe one creation. Thus, a poem is written about poems, a essay is written about essays, and a novel is written about novels.
Words like theory and research have changed gender in English. If you refer to a woman as "her theory," you are saying that she is the author of a theory rather than expressing that you are talking about her personal opinion.