18721001439_b79fc1e9fb_bSue and Joe have children they think are the most perfect creatures on earth, and they enjoy talking about their little ones every chance they get. If you met these children and found the parents’ opinions to be true, how would you write about them?

Sue’s and Joe’s children are awesome.
Sue and Joe’s children are awesome.

Both of these examples are correct. If you gained a bit more information, you would know which version to choose in each instance.

If Sue and Joe are just friends whose wonderful children play together at the park, then this is correct:

Sue’s and Joe’s children are awesome.

If Sue and Joe are married, and those incredible children belong to both of them, then this is correct:

Sue and Joe’s children are awesome.

When you have two or more possessors, it’s critical to know the relationship between the two to properly use apostrophes. The Chicago Manual of Style states, “Closely linked nouns are considered a single unit in forming the possessive when the thing being ‘possessed’ is the same for both; only the second element takes the possessive form.”

My grandmother and grandfather’s home
The husband and wife’s business

Again, from the Chicago Manual of Style, “When the things possessed are discrete, both nouns take the possessive form.”

Orlando’s and Kissimmee’s mayors
My mom’s and dad’s prescriptions

Make sense?

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