Public Services and Procurement Canada
Symbol of the Government of Canada

Institutional Links


Important notice

Writing Tips has been archived and won’t be updated before it is permanently deleted.

For the most up-to-date content, please consult Writing Tips Plus, which combines content from Writing Tips and The Canadian Style. And don’t forget to update your bookmarks!

To begin your search, go to the alphabetical index below and click on the first letter of the word you are searching for.

plurals of family names

To pluralize most family names, we add a simple s:

  • The Browns enjoy winter sports.
  • Have you met the Kilroys?
  • The Clancys and the McNamaras are from Ireland.
  • The Abdullahs live on Castor Court, beside the Greenbergs.

Names ending in ch, s, sh, x and z

To pluralize family names that end in ch, s, sh, x and z, we add an es in most cases:

  • The Welches have two children.
  • That farm was sold to the Lewises.
  • The Nashes run their own business.
  • The Hendrixes raise thoroughbred horses.
  • Two of those cats belong to the Alvarezes.

Names ending in s with a hard z sound

Of course, every exception has its exceptions! When a family name ends in an s that sounds like a hard z (like the s in buys), in most cases its spelling remains unchanged in the plural. In other words, we don’t add an es to make it plural:

  • The Andrews enjoy fine dining.
  • We met the Waters on our vacation to Cuba.