James’ OR James’s?


This may be a stupid question, but I’m not too smart nowadays. Which is a correct way of using an apostrophe to make the name “James” possessive? Is it:

  1. James’? See here.


  2. James’s? See here.

One would think that someone who has had “James” as a first name for thirty years would know by now.

Strunk & White’s first rule is

Form the possessive singular of nouns by adding ’s. Follow this rule whatever the final consonant.

The Chicago Manual of Style (15th ed., 7.17) follows Strunk & White, but even it indicates that there is “an alternative practice” where the possessive -’s is omitted on all words ending in -s (17.23).

While reading books on James, I find both practices as well. A quick survey of monographs and commentaries on James shows that typically ’s is added to the end of James to make it possessive. Out of about ten books consulted, only Luke Timothy Johnson’s volume in the Anchor Bible simply used an apostrophe.

So, which is best? I’ve always learned the rule as “no ’s on any words ending with s.” Perhaps I need to re-learn elementary English grammar.