What is the plural possessive form of family? What the heck did that question even mean? Don’t be embarrassed if you don’t know. Since I’m kind of a wordsmith 🙂 and this site is all about families, let’s take a look.
What Is the Difference between Families and Family?
Family Is Singular
We all belong to a family unit. When one family owns something, we add an apostrophe plus an s. For instance: Our family’s dog.
Families Is Plural
How do you pluralize family? When two or more families get together, we have lots–or plural. If all those families together own something, we just add an apostrophe. For instance: The Smith families’ dogs.
Now See the Difference between Families’ and Family’s
Using the last example, I’ll show the difference.
The Smith family owns a cat. Another Smith family owns a dog.
See the Smith family’s cat. See the Smith family’s dog.
All of the Smith families have pets. See the Smith families’ pets.
Or if they all own dogs, for instance, you’d say: See the Smith families’ dogs.
Don’t Spell it Familys or Familie’s
Family is one of those words that has to drop the y, change to an i and add es when it becomes plural. So you don’t ever spell it familys when you are intending more than one. Similarly, with the plural families, you wouldn’t add an apostrophe before the s–no familie’s.
Tricks to Remember
- Spell the word first. Ask yourself, am I talking about one or more than one? Family or Families.
- Decide if you’re showing ownership. No? Do nothing. You’re done. Yes? Add ‘s or ‘ at the end. Family’s or Families’.
Clear as mud? Keep practicing. When you’re out and about, be a word sleuth. Look for misspellings; this error is common. Once you can spot the errors, you’ll know you understand the correct concept–and you can teach it to someone else.
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Donaldo Batiste says
For a funeral program Thank you acknowledgment, which is correct?
The Jones, Smith, and Wesley Family or the Jones, Smith, and Wesley Families?
First of all, I extend my condolences. Funerals are never easy. Your second suggestion is correct. Go with families plural.
I see you are using lower case f in families. That’s what I would think vs. upper case F?
Yes, families or family–common noun. Lowercase it just like you would any common noun–books, dogs, cats, kids, etc. Only capitalize it for a specific family, ie. The Smith Family.
Is my grammar correct
“That’s normal thing in every ‘family’s member’. At least she knows how to respect her elder siblings.”
Nope, sorry. And I’m not exactly sure what you’re trying to say or I would offer an attempt at a solution.
All the reading I have done for the family name “Higgins” I should use “The Higginses” (the Higgins Family), but it really looks wrong/awkward. “The Higgins” does not sound correct. Which is grammatically correct to use? Thank you in advance for your guidance.
You’re correct. Any name that ends in s takes on es to make it plural.
Hi! For the Vazquez family, would it be “The Vazquezes”? Also, Is it correct to say “Vazquez family’s treats” (for a bag of treats that belongs to said family)?
Yes to both. 🙂
Not sure which is correct –
). Your family’s home away from home. ( My gut tells me this one, but just not 100% sure)
2). Your families home away from home.
Your gut is right. 🙂
Diana Santmyer says
I hope 2021 brings you and your families happiness and good health and I wish you continued professional success.
Is this correct?? Or should it be families’ happiness?
It’s correct.You could also add a comma after health.
Could you help me with this doubt?
The Black family has gone or have gone….
Thanks in advance!!
Sure. If you’re British, it’s plural have. If you’re using American English, it’s singular has.
Melissa Jones says
Working on Open Enrollment material and our organization is offering an employer match of HSA funds. Our note to go into our enrollment platform reads…
“Bank OZK matches up to $500.00 annually for Individuals and $600.00 annually for Family(s) for an HSA contribution.”
I’m struggling between the Family(s) and Families. Any guidance would be greatly appreciated.
Perhaps “per family” is the best wording. Good luck!
Nuno Marques says
Cruising is this Family’s middle name is correct? The idea is to let everyone know that the family in question loves to cruise! Thank you!
Yep, but don’t capitalize family’s.