While writing the title of my previous post, I’ve started to wonder for the thousandth time what’s the right possessive form for Emacs - Emacs’s or Emacs’. I’ve always opted for “Emacs’s”, as that’s consistent with what I’ve learned from “The Elements of Style” book a long time ago, but I’ve seen plenty of people use “Emacs’”, so I wanted to find some definitive opinion on the matter.

I was amused to find out that even the Emacs maintainers were not fully aligned on the matter, as illustrated by this mailing list discussion from 2012:

A critical question. What is the standard form in GNU manuals for using the possessive apostrophe with singular nouns ending in “s”?

This is one of Emacs’s most important features.


This is one of Emacs’ most important features.

Currently there are ~ 46 instances of the former in the manuals, and 63 of the latter. I favour the former.

It’s an interesting conversation, where most people agree that “Emacs’s” is the way to go. I was relieved to see this, as I don’t have to change my habits. Case closed.