Panties, Possession, and the Name of Your Company

If your company’s name ends in s, you’ve probably noticed some confusion about creating possessives, that is, talking about stuff that belongs to your company.

These tips are relevant whether your company ends in a plural s or just a word that ends in s. Take, for example, a lingerie company called Candyass Panties. How do you indicate possession?

I see this illogical solution all the time:

WRONG: Candyass’ lingerie appeals to the modern, sexy babe.

This doesn’t work because that’s not how you make a singular noun possessive. Create a possessive singular noun by adding apostrophe + s, whether the noun ends in an s or any other letter. We’ll correct the above example in just a moment.

First, let’s consider the whole company name, Candyass Panties. Panties is plural isn’t it? Not really, not as a company name. It still refers to one single entity, the company called Candyass Panties. So this doesn’t work either:

WRONG: Candyass Panties’ camisole line utilizes the finest lace, silk, and satin.

Of course, it does work just fine if you are talking about a few pair of panties that are candyass:

JUST FINE: All those candyass panties’ fabrics gave her rashes, so she decided to go commando.

A non-plural word ending in s becomes possessive by adding ’s.  So, the lingerie belonging to Candyass Panties would be: Candyass’s lingerie or Candyass Panties’s lingerie.  But this construction confuses many people and might often be read as incorrect.

Instead, use your company name as a singular word and brand, even if you’ve named it after a plural word like panties, widgets, or communications. Note that this usage often works better with a definitive article.

The Candyass thong collection comes in a rainbow of colors.

Think of your company name as either a singular collective or a brand name whenever possible.

Candyass customers (the customers belonging to Candyass)

The Candyass Panties design concept (the concept belonging to Candyass Panties)

Or consider a shortened or lengthened company name that gives you a break from your problematic, terminal s.

Call it Candy Panties, and you can always shorten to Candy:

Candy’s spring line (the spring line belonging to Candy Panties)

Call it Candyass Lingerie, and you can use the full name whenever you need a possessive:

Candyass Lingerie’s booty shorts (the booty shorts belonging to Candyass)

Here are a couple more examples:

WRONG: Candyass’ runway models are hot.

CORRECT BUT AWKWARD: Candyass’s runway models are hot.

CORRECT: The Candyass runway models are hot.

WRONG: Candyass’ design combines sumptuous fabrics and a breathable cotton panel.

CORRECT BUT AWKWARD: Candyass’s design combines sumptuous fabrics and a breathable cotton panel.

CORRECT: The Candyass design combines sumptuous fabrics and a breathable cotton panel.

Writing about what your company owns–your hottest ideas, your most cherished values, or your bank accounts–might be one of the most important things to express well in business writing. Express possession with elegance by paying attention to this grammar detail.

As entrepreneurs nationwide celebrate Small Business Week, May 16, The Sexy Grammarian helps small business owners overcome fears and embrace sexy writing to reach new customers. Get involved with Small Business Week in San Francisco. And check out The Sexy Grammarian’s stellar reviews on Yelp.


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