ANN: New Book: Programming in Python 3

MRAB google at
Sat Dec 20 03:19:24 CET 2008

Steven D'Aprano wrote:
> On Fri, 19 Dec 2008 18:53:22 +0100, Thomas Heller wrote:
>> Steve Holden schrieb:
>>> Thomas Heller wrote:
>>>> Question from a non-native english speaker: is this now valid english?
>>>>   "One of Python’s great strengths"
>>>>                 ^
>>>>   "and also teaches Python’s functional programming features"
>>>>                           ^
>>>>   "The book’s approach is wholly practical"
>>>>            ^
>>> It always has been valid English. The apostrophe is only omitted from
>>> personal pronouns (hers, its, and so on).
>> I see, thanks.  But, is the apostrophe optional in the above fragments?
> No. In English, you indicate possessives in one of two ways:
> The approach of the book is wholly practical.
> The book's approach is wholly practical.
> In the second form, the apostrophe is always needed, with a couple of 
> exceptions. The first exception is personal pronouns:
> My approach is wholly practical.
> His approach is wholly practical.
> Its approach is wholly practical.
> (The third one often gives even native English speakers trouble, with 
> confusion between the contraction "it's" (it is) and the possessive 
> "its".)
> The second exception is if the word ends with an S. In British English, 
> you put the apostrophe after the S:
> Thomas' approach is wholly practical.
> In American English, they often (but not always) add an extra S:
> Thomas's approach is wholly practical.
> which in my opinion is logical but ugly and should be avoided.
There's disagreement on the subject. A simple rule is to follow speech: 
if you say /tomasIz/ (as I do) then add "'s", therefore "Thomas's".

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