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Obsessive Over the Possessive on the Supreme Court of the United States: Exploring SCOTUS’/SCOTUS’s Use of Possessive Apostrophes

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Document pages: 10 pages

Abstract: U.S. Supreme Court justices often use apostrophes in their written opinions. This is not without controversy because when a noun ends in an s and is then used in the possessive form one could either denote it with one s -- Justice Thomas argument -- or with two s s -- Justice Thomas s argument. Grammar and legal experts alike disagree on the one or two s rule. And, while justices themselves use both forms, we empirically test which is the most prevalent usage over the past seven decades. Our findings indicate that the Court s precedent sides with the single s for possessives.

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