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24 September 2014

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You are in: Tyne > Places > Places features > St James' or St James's?

St James' or St James's?

What's in a name? Should Newcastle United's stadium be St James' Park or St James's Park? Take a journey into the world of the rules of the apostrophe and tell us what you think.

St James' Park sign

Is the sign right?

The sign on the wall of the stadium reads St James' Park, but is that right?

The question about whether the Toon's stadium should be written as St James' or St James's is certainly a talking point.

BBC Look North explored some of the tricky grammatical issues and asked people on the streets of Newcastle what they thought. Watch the report by clicking on the link:

It seems there is no definitive answer to the debate, as Dr Alan Firth, senior lecturer in applied linguistics at Newcastle University, told BBC Radio Newcastle.

"We would say that the apostrophe needs to be there because it's the park of St James. But there's variability," he said.

"It's optional whether you have s apostrophe or s apostrophe s. You can choose either and both are correct."

So what do you think? Should it be St James' or St James's? And does it really matter? Tell us using the form below.

last updated: 04/06/2008 at 09:39
created: 30/05/2008

Have Your Say

St James' or St James's? What do you think?

The BBC reserves the right to edit comments submitted.

mac mackett
well i think it is st james's!

Hilary Hagen
As a member of the church of St James the Great I am also a member of St James's. Apostophes after an 's' denote plural possession; nouns ending in 's' must have an apostophe plus an 's' WITH THE EXCEPTION OF CERTAIN OLD NAMES such as "Jesus' dispciples"; "Moses' staff". I'm afraid certain people were misinformed at school if they think otherwise.

Elmahdi Eldrbak
I do not agree with Dr Alan Firth. I would say that the definite answer is to omit the apostrophe because the Stadium is named after St James so the stadium has given this name only and those who have given this name to the stadium do not give the possession or the ownership of this stadium to St James, ask them.

Tim Osborne
Should be St James's Park as it is a possessive apostrophe showing that the park belongs to St James. Also there are, I assume, only one St James.

to be honest, it doesn't matter one bit. for publicity reasons just the apostrophe works. whether there is an S or not, the apostrophe makes you pronounce the 'S'.As to it belonging to St. James, is the area not called St. James, hence it belonging to the area, St. James and not THE St. James?I also agree with those who have noticed the Jame's comment before... Jame is not a name therefore no apostrophe goes before the 'S'

Paul Robson
St James Park for me, that's what the hospital was called that stood there originally, my second home - I love it!!!!!

Tom Spencer
I believe that it should be St James's.Going back 20-30 years there was a big set of gates at the entrance to the ground and if my memory serves me well it said "St James's". You may have an archive photo somewhere.

I was taught that an apostrophe between 2 letters means is. ie it's means it is. Apostrophe at end of word means belonging to, therefore St James' is correct.

Frank Wilkinson
It is just Saint James Park. No apostrophe at all

definately St James'!

Peter Nicol
It should be St James Park. The park is presumably named after St James. It is not HIS park so the possessive does not come into it!

St James's regardless of reasons why, it JUST IS!

Martyn Tuckwell
No apostrophes are necessary - the Park does not belong to St James and it is only a name. Would you write Prince Charles' (Charles's) Street?

It should be St James's as the apostrophe without the s is used when it is something belonging to a plural. e.g. Our employees' rights or where the surname is also plural. e.g. Mr Williams' (the surname is Williams as in a multiple of William). When it is a name that ends in 's' it should always be apostrophe s. e.g. James's, Lois's.

these is no right and wrong honestly... what it says on the gate will never change what its called by every geordie in newcastle

Emlyn Jones
The name of the ground is "St James Park". That is its name. One does not say "Buckingham's Palace", "Victoria's Station", "Kings's Cross". There is a "St James's Park" but that denotes a possession of St James. In our case we simply have a parked named St James. Forget grammar - ITS A NAME

Colin Stonley
St James's Park

We hate mixing up pronounsWe hate jargon too (and cliches)We hate verbless sentencesBut apostrophes we love youOf course it is St James's. Bring back the proper name....

It's black, it's round, it makes a proper sound - Apostropheeee, apostropheeee.Give us back the 's.

Ann from Billingham
I think they should leave it well alone i have always know it as St James Park as long as i can remember i lived in Newcastle all my life but moved away about 3 years ago and i got married i now live on Teeside but still support the Toon army

Bernard Alderton
Apostrophe, possessive - Jack's cat, James's dog, St James's Park.

Peter Sands
It has to be St James's. It would be St Peter's, St Andrew's and St Matthew's. Why do they penalise James just because his name ends in an S? St James's is grammatically correct, sounds better and was used when we used to win cups. Let's have it back?

i think it should stop the way it is

To be grammatically correct when written is must be St James' and it DOES matter.It is time that English was properly taught again. How we say it is a matter of choice.

hoy man,there must be more important things to discuss than a stupid name like are we ever ganna get a cup in the trophy cabinet?

Ken - again
Den,You are right that "Jesus'" can be used, but it is an affectation to avoid the hissing sound of three "s's", and hence the use of the long "u" sound to avoid simply saying Jesus.(Could go on for ever this!)CheersCheers

Ken Richardson
Sunderland supporter in peace -Lead the way, lads, and show that correct grammar is alive and well in the North-East - revert to the traditional St James's Park, as it was during the formation of Newcastle United. Newcastle West End used that famous sloping piece of ground near the Leazes the first time they played in an enclosed home ground, and Newcastle East End took over the lease and played their first game there in 1892. Historical names should have the same status as historic buildings - the name St James's Park should be listed as Grade 1.

according to The Oxford Guide to the English Language "nouns ending in s add 's for the singular possessive e.g. St. James's Park"

Terry White
St James's as it was originally, besides it sound better as St James's in Toon language

Anyone who ever studied english at school would know it's St James'. I can't believe it's even being discussed.

Peter C. Harvey
However you spell it you have to pronounce both S's -otherwise it would be the park of St Jame not St James(and I don't think anyone's claiming that, are they?)

I was taught that if a names ends in 's' then the possessive form should be james', but it seems either can correct. To quote wikipedia:"United States place names generally do not use the possessive apostrophe. The United States Board on Geographic Names, which has responsibility for formal naming of municipalities and geographic features, has deprecated the use of possessive apostrophes since 1890. Only five names of natural features in the U.S. are officially spelled with a genitive apostrophe (one example being Martha's Vineyard[14]). On the other hand, Britain has Bishop's Stortford, Bishop's Castle and King's Lynn (but St Albans, St Andrews and St Helens) and, while Newcastle United play at St James' Park, and Exeter City at St James Park, London has a St James's Park (this whole area of London is named after St James's Church, Piccadilly[15]). The special circumstances of the latter case may be this: the customary pronunciation of this place name is reflected in the addition of an extra -s; since usage is firmly against a doubling of the final -s without an apostrophe, this place name has an apostrophe. This could be regarded as an example of a double genitive: it refers to the park of the church of St James. None of this detracts from the fact that omission of the apostrophe in geographical names is becoming a clear standard in most English-speaking countries, including Australia.[16] Practice in Britain and Canada is not so uniform.[17]"

Ben Smith
it should deffantley be St James's !!!

Caroline Watson
It should definitely be St James's. That's what people say and it is grammatically correct - I am a Durham-trained former English teacher and many of my current colleagues found it difficult to believe that I had not written 'Eats Shoots and Leaves'!

St James` park - denotes it belongs to more than one James.St James`s Park - denotes it belongs to James.Maybe, St James Park is correct.

Margaret Doona
St James'

Anne O'Postrophy
Can I refer you to the relevant chapter in Lynn Truss' excellent book 'Eats shoots and leaves'?

st james's

Ah but in response to Brenda, the English language does permit the omission of the second 's' if the name of the person to which something belongs ends in an 's' already, e.g. Jesus' disciples rather than Jesus's desciples. So technically, St James' Park is correct even though you should pronounce it as St James's.

michael cain
st james's

Allan Playle
It has always been St. James'Park and not St.Jame's as sporting commentators pronounce it


jane crozier
should be St James'

Mark Hamilton
St James's Park

They've got it completely wrong its spelt St. Shearers park

brian murray
I have just watched your debate and i always say st.james park , although whats in a name, its the team on the pitch that matters most!

Elmahdi Eldrbak
I think it does really matter, why? Because this Park does not belong to St James, if it belongs to him then according to English grammsar it should be written as St James's Park, but as it does not belong to him then it should remain as it is now but without apostrophe.

Brenda Cavanagh
It should be St James's Park because it is the Park of St James. If it is spelt St James' Park it implies that there is more than one St James. eg If a cat belongs to one sister - "It was her sister's cat but if it belongs to two sisters "It was her sisters' cat"

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