Plurals of Names Ending in Z, X, Sh, Ch, and Other Sibilants

Summary

Form the plural of a name ending in z, x, sh, and other sibilant sounds the same way as the plural of a name ending in s: by adding es without an apostrophe.

Examples
  • The Lopezes lives next door to the Hendrixes.
  • The Walshes and Joneses are old family friends.
  • We have two Lizes, three Felixes, and four Dennises in class this year.

Don’t add an apostrophe and s to form the plural.

Example
  • Incorrect: The Martinez’s have moved to New York.
    Correct: The Martinezes have moved to New York.

To form the possessive of a plural name, place an apostrophe after the final s.

Example
  • Is that the Knoxes’ cat?

The general rule

The plural of a name or a proper noun is formed by adding s or es. Names may be pluralized to refer to more than one person by the same name or to refer to an entire family.

Examples
  • We have two Johns, three Jills, and two Jameses in the family.
  • Have the Diazes been informed?
  • The Andersons are here for dinner.
  • Do the Patels still live next door to the Harrises?

In this article, we discuss how to form plurals of names ending in s and other sibilant sounds, along with some exceptions.

Plurals of names ending in z, x, sh, j, s

Form the plural of a name ending in z, x, sh, and j the same way you would form the plural of a name ending in s: by adding es without an apostrophe. This rule applies to both given and last names.

Examples
  • We have four Lizes, three Maxes, two Joshes, and two Nikolajes in the family.
  • We have two Chrises and two Jesses on the team.
  • Alex has joined a group of Alexes who raise money for charity.
  • This house belonged to the Rodriguezes.
  • We have two Foxes and three Inezes in class this year.
  • The Lopezes are old friends of ours.
  • The Hendrixes live next door to us.
  • We met the Walshes in New York.
  • The Bajajes have moved to Canada.

To form the plural of a name ending in s, don’t add ses. Add just es, regardless of whether the s at the end of the name is preceded by a vowel or a consonant.

Examples
  • Both Chrises have the same surname: Smith.
    not Chrisses
  • The Harrises and Joneses live next door to each other.
    not Harrisses

Plurals of names ending in a silent x or s

If a name or other proper noun ends in a silent x, add s instead of es to form the plural. Don’t use an apostrophe.

Examples
  • Do the Cadieuxs still live in Nice?
  • Here are some affordable Bordeauxs you can try on your next trip to a French restaurant.
  • The Riouxs no longer live here.

However, if a name ends in a silent s, add es to form the plural. Again, no apostrophe is needed.

Examples
  • At the time, the Duboises lived in Paris.
  • The Descarteses have invited the Camuses and Dumases to dinner.

Plurals of names ending in ch

The plural of a name ending in ch may be formed by adding either s or es, depending on how the name is pronounced. If it is pronounced with a soft “ch” sound (e.g., Mitch, March), add es to form the plural. But if the name ends in a hard “ch” sound (a /k/ sound, as in Zach, pronounced /zak/), add s, not es.

Examples
  • The Marches live next door to the Lurches.
  • We now have three Mitches in the family.
  • Both Riches have reached the finals.
  • but
  • The Kochs and the Bachs have lived here since 1860.
  • We also have two Zachs and three Friedrichs in the family.

Whether to use s or es to form the plural depends on how a name is pronounced: if it ends in a “k” sound, use s; if it ends in a “ch” sound, use es. Thus, a name pronounced with a ch sound at the end always takes es to form the plural, even if ending in another letter like c.

Example
  • The Djokovices have had no symptoms but remain in self-isolation in Serbia.
    — “Djokovic Tests Negative for Virus Days After Troubled Tournament,” Bloomberg (July 2, 2020)

Use of apostrophe

Don’t use an apostrophe to form the plural of a name ending in z, x, or other sibilant sounds.

Examples
  • Incorrect: There are two Rex’s and three Buzz’s in my phone book.
    Correct: There are two Rexes and three Buzzes in my phone book.
  • Incorrect: Have the Hernandez’s replied?
    Correct: Have the Hernandezes replied?
  • Incorrect: Are there two Beatriz’s in this department?
    Correct: Are there two Beatrizes in this department?
  • Incorrect: We are going out with the Leibniz’s and Lennox’s for dinner.
    Correct: We are going out with the Leibnizes and Lennoxes for dinner.

In general, avoid using an apostrophe to form the plural of a name, even names ending in letters like y, i, and a.

Example
  • Poor: The Dunphy’s and Gonzales’s are neighbors.
    Better: The Dunphys and Gonzaleses are neighbors.
Caution

Never use an apostrophe to form the plural of a name ending in z or x.

Examples
  • Incorrect: The Martinez’s are here.
    Correct: The Martinezes are here.
  • Incorrect: The Fairfax’s are selling their house.
    Correct: The Fairfaxes are selling their house.

Plurals of other proper nouns

To form the plural of other proper nouns ending in z, x, sh, and other sibilant sounds (names of regions, countries, brands, or businesses), add es, as seen in the following examples from published content. Don’t use an apostrophe; just add es as you would for any name.

Examples
  • The best defence against future Kraft Heinzes . . . is a high share price.
    — “It Took Two Tortuous Years for Unilever to Untangle This Mess,” Guardian (June 11, 2020)
  • For decades, corporate credit cards were a boring industry, dominated by money-colored AmExes.
    — “New Tech Startups Challenge AmEx in the Niche Corporate Card Market,” Fortune (Mar. 8, 2020)
  • Conflicts of interest . . . are everyday occurrences for the Morgan Stanleys and Goldman Sachses of the world.
    — “Can There Be Investment Banks Without Conflicts?” Harvard Business Review (Feb. 5, 2010)
  • They prefer to call themselves ‘financial services companies,’ just like the American Expresses and the Merrill Lynches.
    — “A Bank, by Any Other Name . . .,” New York Times (Dec. 27, 1981)

Possessives of plural names

To form the possessive of a plural name, place an apostrophe after—not before—the s that forms the plural. For a name ending in z, x, sh, s, or other sibilant sound, add es to form the plural and refer to an entire family. Then add an apostrophe after the final s to form the possessive.

Examples
  • Is that the Alverezes’ car?
    not “the Alvarez’s car”
  • The Lomaxes’ cat visits us every afternoon.
  • I see the Lopezes’ car parked in their driveway.

Here are some more examples.

Examples
  • The Cruzes’ monthly income . . . amounts to $1,831, barely enough to cover the rent on their apartment and basic living expenses.
    — “The Mind Slips, but Love Is Undiminished,” New York Times (Jan. 20, 2009)
  • Originally a residence, it was moved once and became a general store, then was moved again in 1998 to become the Hendrixes’ garage.
    — “Move It or Lose It,” Los Angeles Times (Apr. 1, 2001)
Note

Possessives of all plural names are formed by adding an apostrophe after the final s: the Harrises’ house, the Singhs’ cat, the Murrays’ car.

Examples from published content

Here are some examples from writing that show how the plural of a name ending in z, x, sh, and other sibilant sounds is formed by adding es, without an apostrophe.

Examples
  • The Kravitzes, Bonets and Momoas have become an extended, blended brood.
    — “How Lenny Kravitz Keeps His Cool,” New York Times (Sep. 23, 2020)
  • Scant documentary evidence does show, however, that a mill was sold by a William Wyldon of Yearsley to the Fairfaxes of Gilling in 1560.
    — “North York Moors Archaeology Work Unearths Water Mill,” BBC News (Dec. 22, 2012)
  • The Walshes have invested £42,000 in repairing the house over the year.
    — “Couple Made Homeless by National Trust,” Guardian (Sep. 28, 2008)
  • The Abramoviches have five children.
    — “The Shrinking of the Roman Empire,” Wall Street Journal (Mar. 14, 2007)
  • Once again, they had a few bright spots, notably from their two Alexes.
    — “One-Day Cup: Madsen Ton Helps Derbyshire End Warwickshire’s Slim Hopes,” BBC Sport (Apr. 30, 2019)
  • This is the story of one Monday-night screening and two Jameses.
    — “Public Lives,” New York Times (Oct. 18, 2000)

Plurals of names ending in other letters

Plurals of names that don’t end in a sibilant sound like z, x, or s are formed by adding s instead of es. These include names ending in vowels (like e and i) and in the letter y.

Examples
  • We have three Johns, two Harrys, and two Annes in the family.
  • The Murphys live next door to the Lewinskis.
  • The Kapoors and the Wilsons are on vacation in Vietnam.
  • Both Janes are politicians.

Usage guide

Add es to form the plural of a name ending in z, x, sh, s, or other sibilant sound, whether a given or a last name (two Alexes in the family, the Perezes). Don’t use an apostrophe to form the plural (the Diazes, not Diaz’s). Finally, remember to form the possessive of a plural name by placing an apostrophe after the final s (the Maddoxes’ dog, not the Maddox’s dog).

Quick Quiz

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Did You Know?

An initial “the” in names of countries (e.g., “the Philippines”) is not capitalized when used within a sentence.
Know more:Capitalization: A Quick Guide