Apostrophes with classical names that are planets


Fowler's Modern English Usage (3rd ed) urges the use of 's when one encounters a name ending in s. However, he has a rider for classical names ending in s, so that Herodotus is Herodotus' and Socrates is Socrates'. My question is what is the correct approach for Venus and Mars? Following the Fowler rule we would have "Mars' sword" (for the god). But do we have "Mars' orbit" or "Mars's orbit" (for the planet)? I realise that this is probably at the height of pedantry, but I would appreciate people's thoughts.

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To complicate things a little further, I'd like to offer the adjectives "Martian" and "Venusian". I don't know if they're applicable when referring to the Roman gods, but I prefer using them to "Mars's/Mars'" when speaking about planets. 

link answered Mar 27 '12 at 14:20 Alex Madjarov New member

That would surely avoid the problem.

Lewis NeidhardtMar 27 '12 at 17:05

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