Tuesday, October 12, 2010

adjective or possessive?

Although I haven't blogged about this topic for a while, longtime readers know about my obsession with using proper grammar. My biggest pet peeve is when the apostrophe is misused. (Longtime readers also know my standard caveat for posts like this: I've made grammatical mistakes on this blog and will continue to do so. I am not an English grammar expert, but I do strive to use it properly to the best of my ability.)

A friend told me she recently took her daughter to a concert for children. Is it a kids concert or a kids' concert?

I go back and forth on this issue, especially when thinking about my church's meetings for members (members meetings or members' meetings), so I did some research.

According to my favorite grammarian, the better question is, are you using kids or members as an adjective or a possessive? Kids don't own the concert, so it doesn't make sense to add an apostrophe. Although I belong to a congregationalist church, members technically don't own the meetings, so an apostrophe is not necessary.

Grammar Girl argues that homeowners' association needs the apostrophe when homeowners actually own and control the group that manages their property. She also said that no matter what your opinion is on this subject, a credible grammarian will certainly disagree with you.

Ponder this dilemma as you visit a farmers market this weekend. (I left off the apostrophe because the farmers generally don't own the market, but I'm certain that I've included the apostrophe on previous blog posts.)

Agree or disagree? Let's discuss.


Katie said...

Very interesting. I was just thinking about this. We have a neighborhood corner store called "The Brother's Market". I'm pretty sure there is more than one brother who owns the market. It should be "The Brothers' Market", right?

Dr. Blondie said...

Correct! More than one brother would be "The Brothers' Market". I see these types of mistakes often.

Preppy Pink Crocodile said...

I agree. A third grade class performs a kids' concert. But the Wiggles perform a kids concert. My problem is that I regularly (like daily) make up my own words. I'll add "tastic" to the end of just about anything.

Amanda said...

This post reminds me of yesterday when about 6 of us at work debated back and forth whether a title should be "Ideas to Action" or "Ideas to Actions" -- neither is wrong, it's just determining what you want to convey.

Aimee @ Smiling Mama said...

I agree, this was interesting and will help me when I struggle with the same dilemma. On a related note, you can imagine my dismay when a friend told me that I used "I" in place of "me" when speaking to a group recently. I actually believe that she was wrong because the proper use of those two words is one of my big pet peeves! But, perhaps in the heat of the moment, I did get it wrong.