The rules’ uncertainties

Deep in a proof-reading exercise I began to run into “Harris’ objections” and  “Travis’ contention” and the like, and set about adding esses: Harris’s objections, and so on.

Picked up on this, I said that as I understood it, failing to add an s was generally considered archaic, and rather frowned on these days. Googling for some kind of definitive authority to endorse what was in truth little more than a hunch, I came across an excellent article on the issue. Not only do serious authorities differ on the matter, The Chicago Manual of Style has actually changed its position: once in the Jesus’  camp, it now prefers Jesus’s. As I was accustomed to doing.

But I have now revised my own preference, in line with a proposal made by the author of the writing tips piece, one Maeve Maddox:

Having said which, it’s important not to forget that this remains just that – a preference. As so often with the wonder that is English, there *is* no definitive correct answer. As so often, yer pays yer money, and…