As you are probably aware, our contemporary English content is now available through (, and our old English dictionary site no longer exists.

As a result of this, this forum is now closed.

The English dictionary community team would like the opportunity to say a huge thanks to all of you who participated by posting questions and helping other community members.
We hope this forum was useful, and that you enjoyed being a part of it.

If you would like to get in touch with any OED-related queries, please write to
[email protected]

And if you would like to contribute suggestions to the OED, please do so by visiting:

Thank you very much indeed, and good bye!
The community team

Apostrophe usage with is/are

I'm a little confused as to whether there should be an apostrophe, and where, in the sentence "boyfriends not included" (meaning that two boyfriends are not included in an event). For a singular boyfriend, I think that it would be "boyfriend's not included" as it would be a contraction of "boyfriend is not included", but multiple boyfriends would be "boyfriends are not included". Is "boyfriends' not included" correct?


  • DavidCrosbieDavidCrosbie ✭✭✭
    edited May 2019

    @composmentis, boyfriends not included is a VERBLESS CLAUSE.

    Boyfriend's not included is strange because Boyfriend is not included is strange.
    You would normally have to write
    Your boyfriend is not included.
    A boyfriend is not included.
    The boyfriend is not included

    You could only write Boyfriend is or Boyfriend's if you and your reader were in the habit of referring to your reader's boyfriend by the nickname Boyfriend.

    There is no written abbreviation for Boyfriends are not included — although you can reduce are in speech to a little grunt.

  • It's in the genre of apostrophe's[sic] = The belief that plural's[sic] are made with an apo. Grocer's[sic] can be allowed that.

Sign In or Register to comment.