I have one of those names that drives people crazy. Not Rena, although I have had people mispronounce those simple four letters. Most often, they default to Renee, as in the song “Just Walk Away…” but once in a while I get Renna, rhymes with henna. I usually smile, say “Long E – Reeeena.”

Once my byline was misspelled as Reena. It made me laugh. But I digress. It’s not my first name that gives folks problems, it’s the last. Or, more accurately, the last name Koontz when you are talking about more than one of us. How do you pluralize more than one Koontz? It’s that tricky Z at the end that throws people off.

More often than now, someone tacks on apostrophe S — as in Koontz’s. That’s the possessive form and means something that belongs to me – the Koontz’s house. I’ve seen just an S added — Koontzs. That’s simply incorrect.

It’s one of those grammatical problems I had to learn when Koontz became my name. Here is the rule: When words end in S or an S-sound (ss, x, ch, sh, z), the plural is formed by adding ES to the singular.

Here are the examples listed in The Elements Of Grammar: annex becomes annexes; church changes to churches; one dish turns into dishes; more than one hostess becomes hostesses; and quartz becomes quartzes.

Likewise more than one Koontz becomes Koontzes.


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