Since we are "Not-the-APS Message Board" shouldn't the FAQs be retitled "Apostrophe FAQs" or similar? Otherwise those new to the site might waste time looking for subjects not covered.
"In considering the use of grammar as a corrective of what are called ‘ungrammatical’ expressions, it must be borne in mind that the rules of grammar have no value except as statements of facts: whatever is in general use in a language is for that very reason grammatically correct."
[Henry Sweet, 1891.]
Paul, I don't visit this section of the forum very often, but I like the new look of the FAQ. However, I thought the heading "The Rule" was a bit drastic! It's the rule regarding the use of apostrophes for showing possession, but that is only one area of use. Can't it be relabelled indicating that it's the rule for possessive forms?
Please delete this post when you have either acted on or ignored it! It's nothing that needs to be kept kicking around.
"He who dares not offend cannot be honest" Thomas Paine
Assuming there's only one funeral director, it's The funeral director's first contact ... . In other words, the first contact of the funeral director. The apostrophe comes immediately after the person or thing doing the possessing, i.e. immediately after "director"; if there were more than one funeral director, you'd write The funeral directors' first contact ..., with the apostrophe immediately after "directors".
Without the apostrophe the sentence doesn't really mean anything.
With regard to approstrephes when when would you use
Society's insted of societies, stupid question, i know, but never quite got the grasp..... Not very good with noun, verbs etc...
Singular: A Society; Singular possessive: A society's rules; Plural: Two societies; Plural possessive: Two societies' rules.
To make a word that ends in a "y" plural, change the "y" to "ies". The exception to that is when the singular ends in a vowel + y, such as "trolley" or "boy"; then you just add an "s" (as with most other words), to get "trolleys", "boys" etc.
Oh, and the "y"-to-"ies" rule doesn't apply to the names of people or things, so when Sally meets Sally, you have two Sallys, not two Sallies.