Determining where to add an apostrophe to a word ending in “s” can be confusing. The apostrophe is used to show ownership. In this case, actress’s is the correct term when depicting singular ownership.

Although it looks awkward due to the extra “s,” this is the grammatically accepted spelling of the term.

When you want to communicate that the actress owns a house, you write “the actress’s house.” Conversely, the term actress’ is wrong as it lacks the extra “s” at the end. 

Why actress’s is correct?

The word actress refers to a female actor dabbling in the creative arts. It is singular. Similar to other English nouns showing singular possession, an “s” is added after the apostrophe and not before.

Words like Joseph’s, cat’s, and consequently actress’s are correct. Although the word actress ends with an “s,” this does not disqualify the word from the grammatical rules of showing possession.

Therefore, we can correctly state phrases like “The actress’s passion,” “The actress’s gown,” and “The actress’s beliefs.”

Why actress’ is incorrect?

The plural of the word actress is actresses. However, to show plural possession for words ending with “s,” we add an apostrophe after the last “s.”

For example, if the actresses have been allocated a dressing room, we write “the actresses’ dressing room.”

We do not add the extra “s” like in singular possession. Therefore, the word actresses’s is wrong. However, some believe that the plural of actress is actress.

According to them, the plural possessive term of the word actress is actress’ This is a common misconception that should be avoided.

Hence using the term actress’ for example, “the actress’ mansion,” is incorrect and thus should cease to be used.

Final thoughts

It is understandable why most people get the terms actress’s and actress’ confused. This confusion comes about due to the “s” at the end of the word.

To accurately differentiate between these two terms, we look at the rules of possession. According to these rules, an extra “s” is added regardless of the last character in the word to denote singular possession.

Additionally, an apostrophe is placed after the word and before the extra “s.” Understandably, actress’s is recognized as the correct term. Moreover, the plural possession form of actress’ is actresses.’

Learning these simple grammatical rules can aid you in differentiating between similar words, especially those for who English is not their first language.

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