Is it others’, others or other’s? These three words are obviously all versions of the word other and are often confused. Let’s shed a little light, shall we?
- The possessive singular form of the word other is other’s.
- The plural form of the word other is others.
- The possessive plural is others’.
Other’s vs. Others’
How do you know where to put the apostrophe? It depends on whether you are using the singular or plural form of the word.
They will correct each other’s work. (Each is singular, so other is singular.)
She has to consider others’ feelings. (There are many feelings, so other is plural.)
It’s important to know that the ‘s is used when you need a possessive. In the examples above, the work and the feelings are “owned” by the people.
Here are other examples with physical possession:
They need to clean each other’s houses.
At the park, I am bound to see others’ dogs.
“Others’ dogs” sounds a little odd, so we often say “other peoples’ dogs” because that is easier to say.
When to use Others
The plural, non possessive form of other is “others.”
They have to wait for the others.
Notice that there is not another word after “others.” This is a clue that there is no possessive.
Let’s explore some common questions
What is the plural possessive form of others?
The plural possessive of others is others’. If a word already ends in “s” in English, then you put the apostrophe after the “s.”
Where does the apostrophe go in others?
The answer depends on whether “others” refers to the singular or plural possessive. If you are using each other (singular), then it is “each other’s.” If you are using the plural, then the apostrophe goes after the “s.”
Which is correct: each other’s life or lives?
Actually, both “each other’s life” and “each other’s lives” are possible and can be correct!
Let’s take a look at some real-life examples from the media:
She and Ferrara adore each other. They kiss each other’s cheeks. They hold hands. They giggle. – The New York Times
The care of children always comes before any considerations of ethics and others’ feelings. If the mother has misgivings of any sort about her caregiver, the nanny must go immediately. – The New York Times
“The British government is working with others in the world to bring peace to Gaza and we do now have a tentative ceasefire which we all hope will hold”. – The Guardian
Got questions? Here are a few other blog posts on this essential topic:
Apostrophe Help Please! Review the rules of apostrophe use.
Whistler’s Apostrophe Challenge Test yourself on 15 signs in Whistler, British Columbia.
Do Not Use Apostrophes to Make Plurals Learn when it is acceptable to use apostrophes to form plurals.
Seattle Seahawks Apostrophe Test Take an apostrophe test for football fans.
Clinton’s and Sanders’s Apostrophes Find out whether to add just an apostrophe or an apostrophe and an s.
Its? It’s? Or Its’? You can guess what this one is about.