Possessive vs. Plural: The media can't even get it right!

Tonight I saw a report on the news wherein the phrase “SUV’s” was used– incorrectly.

It was not a possessive issue; they were speaking of the plural form. This was a quote from some area of the government, and I’m not sure whether it was written that way on the government papers, or spoken and the news channel wrote it incorrectly.

Either way, it made me cringe! (Forgive my high expectations– these are educated people, whether government or media!)

SUVs = Plural

SUV’s = Possessive (belonging to one SUV, mind you. Two or more would be SUVs’.)


I'm a wife and mommy first, as well as a social media consultant/manager, editor, and writer. I'm also editor of Musical Reviewer and Houston Theatre Blog.

11 comments on “Possessive vs. Plural: The media can't even get it right!
  1. Harmony says:

    I always cringe at the numerous errors in my local papers. Makes we want to apply to be their editor!

  2. Matt Keegan says:

    This is a VERY common error made by many folks. I have gotten flack by people who want me to write SUVs as SUVS when I tell them the former is actually correct too. Newspapers are, by far, the biggest practicioners of goof ups.

  3. These types of mistakes make me cringe too, but the absolute worst offenders have to be the articles in the free entertainment rags. The writing/editing in my local ones is so horrific that I can’t even stand to read them.

  4. Lori says:

    Nice to see you again, Julia!

    Oh, I hate that, too! I agree with Matt that it’s much more prevalent than it should be in the newspaper world.

    Have you read “Grammar Snobs Are Great Big Meanies”? It’s hysterical, and it’s a fun look at issues like the one you describe. I loved it.

  5. Tammi says:

    The book Lori suggests sound like a winner…I really thought that the problem was a Pittsburgh thing. (We are known for creative grammar).

    I was in a diner and the printed daily special menu read:
    “Todays Special’s”

  6. Julia says:

    What is up with the publishing industry compromising themselves so?

    Oh, and Lori, I just got a copy of “Grammar Snobs are Great Big Meanies” last week! I’ve been wanting it since it caught my eye, and I’ve been reading it little by little. It’s hilarious! I love how it even pokes fun at ultra-conservative grammarians. It reminds me of some old friends who are like that, mocking people and such. I don’t mock those who cannot grasp grammar; I prefer to help them. It just astounds me when incorrect grammar is prevalent in an industry where it should come first!

    Tammi: I like the term “creative grammar.” That’s great! That menu at the diner… I would have to resist taking out a pen and marking it. They had the right at idea, at least– just needed to switch the apostrophes.

  7. John says:

    This seems to be a matter of style, not right and wrong. According to the Oxford Companion to the English language, all these uses of the apostrophe are standard:


    with letters
    dot your i’s and cross your t’s

    do’s and don’ts


    family names
    the Jones’s

  8. Barbara says:

    One of the worst:

    GATEAUX’S [on special]

  9. Barbara says:

    Just read: please NOT in dates: you wouldn’t write nineteeneighties’ would you? Words ending in S are strange anyway.

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