I have a quick tip for you today. The question is, when you’re citing a study by multiple authors, do you put an apostrophe with all of the authors’ names, or just the last name?
I came across a citation for the following study while editing today:
Akinola, Modupe, and Wendy Berry Mendes. “The Dark Side of Creativity: Biological Vulnerability and Negative Emotions Lead to Greater Artistic Creativity.” Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. 34.12 (2008): 1677–86. Print.
The documentation style shown above is MLA style, for those who are new to it, but the punctuation principle in this post applies regardless of Chicago, APA, MLA, or other style.
If we want to cite without an apostrophe, it’s not too confusing (e.g., Akinola and Mendes). But if we want to use an apostrophe, do we put an apostrophe after both names, or just the second name? The correct usage depends on whether the authors collaborated on one study or wrote separate studies. In this case, we just have one study, so we use one apostrophe.
Tip: An easy easiest way to remember the rule is 1 Study = 1 Apostrophe, 2 Studies = 2 Apostrophes, etc.
As an example, in the text you might say,
Or, in APA we might have
Now let’s take an example if we are referring to separate studies. Let’s say that both authors just published a study in 2013, one by Akinola and one by Mendes. To use the possessive in this case, we might have something like this:
As a final example, what if we have two studies, but multiple authors for each study? Remember the rule: the number of studies dictates the number of apostrophes.
So we might have something like this:
Hope that clarifies the correct usage for some of you out there. Best wishes with your writing today!