Today the Dragon Wins

"Today the Dragon Wins" offers information from Fantasy Author and Professional Editor Sandy Lender. You'll also find dragons, wizards, sorcerers, and other fantasy elements necessary for a fabulous story, if you know where to look...

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Sandy Lender is the editor of an international trade publication and the author of the fantasy novels Choices Meant for Gods and Choices Meant for Kings, available from ArcheBooks Publishing, and the series-supporting chapbook, What Choices We Made.

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Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Grammar Guide Department
Pronominal Problems
Or...How to Show Possession with Possessive Pronouns

When to use apostrophes to show possession should come easily to a writer, right? Not always.
When you're cruising along with the fingers flying (think National Novel Writing month) and there's no time for stopping to check that sticky quotation mark key over there under the right pinky, the question of showing possession comes up much later. It comes up when you're editing. It comes up when you have time to sit there and stare at the screen and agonize over it.

And we all know that thinking too long makes it that much more difficult to decide.

Here's the rule: Pronominal possessives don't take an apostrophe. Great! What exactly does that mean? It's referring to those pronouns that are possessive. Think of it as having the apostrophe already "built in." It's implied. For instance hers is a possessive pronoun. You don't add an apostrophe because something that is hers already belongs to her. Clear as mud, eh?

Hers, its, theirs, yours, and ours are possessive pronouns already. Never add apostrophes to them to make them more so.

(Sandy Lender, author of Choices Meant For Gods, has been an editor in the magazine publishing industry for fourteen-plus years.)

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