How to Pluralize the Last Name of a Family

by Jennifer Malloy

When it comes to writing letters, addressing envelopes or sending those annual holiday cards, you may become confused about how to make a family’s last name plural. People often add an unneeded apostrophe because there is an extra “s” on the name. While pluralizing a last name might seem confusing, it's easy when you follow a few basic rules.

Add an “es” to the end of names that end in “s,” “z” or “x.” For example, Jones becomes Joneses, Ramirez becomes Ramirezes and Cox becomes Coxes. (“The Joneses made the cake.”) To make these names possessive, add an apostrophe after the final “s,” such as "the Coxes’ house."

Add an “es” to last names that end in “sh” or “ch.” Welch becomes Welches and Cash becomes Cashes. (“The Welches came to visit.”) Put an apostrophe after the final “s” to make the name possessive: "the Cashes’ party."

Add an “s” to last names that end in “o,” “y” or any other letter not already mentioned. Brown becomes Browns, Mario becomes Marios and Curry becomes Currys. (“The Currys sang a song.”) To make the names possessive, add an apostrophe after the last “s,” such as "the Browns’ cat."

Leave a last name unchanged to pluralize if it has an unpronounced “s” or “x” on the end. For example: "The Dumas live here."


About the Author

Jennifer Malloy has been a writer, editor, and copy editor since 2000. She graduated with honors from the University of Utah with a Bachelor of Arts in journalism and creative writing. She currently works as a magazine editor for an international children's magazine.

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