Pluralization of names

If I were to use the sentence “There are lots of John Smiths” in the world, would that be the correct use for saying that there are a lot of people named John Smith in the world?

I don’t think there should be an apostrophe as that would imply ownership of something.

If my first example is correct, then what would you do if the name referenced already ended with an ‘s’?


In order to pluralize a name, this guide says:

There are really just two rules to remember, whether you’re pluralizing a given (first) name or a surname (last name):

  1. If the name ends in s, sh, ch, x or z, add es.
  2. In every other case, add s.

Similarly, there are two fundamental no-no’s:

Never change a y to ies when pluralizing a name; and
Never, ever use apostrophes!



  • The Flaherty’s live here.
  • The Flaherties live here.


  • The Flahertys live here.
  • Sandra’s two favorite boyfriends are Charleses.
  • There are seven Joneses in Stuart’s little black book—three of them Jennifers.
  • The Hopkinses are coming over for dinner tonight.

So your instinct is correct — do not use an apostrophe as that indicates possession. Your first example would be:

There are a lot of John Smiths in the world.

Source : Link , Question Author : Alex , Answer Author : simchona

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