A Very Practical, Non-Spiritual Question

Since I write a lot with blogging, as well as preparation for sermons and teaching material, I have had a nagging question for quite a while now. It’s one I should have nailed in junior high, but for the life of me, I cannot remember the answer to this question.

It is not life-changing by any means. And no, because I should have had this answered in junior high, it has nothing to do with body anatomy. But, for me, it is important issue because it is very practical with regards to writing.

I want to know how to properly use an apostrophe in possessive and plural situations. I cannot remember at all. So, for example, I list a few instances that would leave me asking questions:

  • Is it Jesus’ hand or Jesus’s hand? Here, I am not sure.
  • Is it Jesus’ hands or Jesus’s hands? Here I am not sure.
  • Is it Scott’s book and Scott’s books? Here, I am pretty sure both are acceptable.
  • Is it the cat’s (singular) tail and the cats’ (plural) tails? Here, I am also quite unsure.

So I think the problem for me arises in two situations:

  1. When the possessive noun (whether generic or proper) ends with an ‘s’, like with my first two examples above.
  2. When the possessive noun (whether generic or proper) is plural, like in my last example above.

Thanks for any practical, wise, and maybe even spiritual, insight.