Use of proper nouns phrases (plural/possessive?)

English grammar help. Grammar questions from ESL learners

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shallstrom
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Use of proper nouns phrases (plural/possessive?)

Postby shallstrom » Fri Oct 26, 2012 5:45 pm

I have heard the following phrase used (Example 1) and I can't figure out if it's grammatically correct. For this example, the name "John" is someone's first name, the family name is "Smith," and John has a family.

Example 1: Johns are coming this weekend.

I can't tell if the above is idiomatic phrasing used only by the particular person who said it, or if it's generally grammatically correct. I believe the phrase has been used to mean this:

Example 2: John and his family are coming this weekend.

I also believe these are correct:

Example 3: The Smiths are coming this weekend.
Example 4: John's family is coming this weekend.

but not this:

Example 5: The Johns are coming this weekend.

So where does the first example fit in and why? If we added an apostrophe to make "John's" would that make any difference? Thanks! This has been driving me nuts for years!

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Alan
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Re: Use of proper nouns phrases (plural/possessive?)

Postby Alan » Sun Oct 28, 2012 1:25 am

You are right: ex. 1 is not normal usage (--> The Johns...)


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