client's vs. clients'

reimasa

Member
Japan, Japanese
I transcribe what the teacher is saying in an English conversation program. I have difficulty how to describe the following sentence in written English. Which is correct among three and why. Iwill apprecitate it if you explain.

1. Is there anything that you feel you need to be careful about
when you ask your client's opinion on something?

2. Is there anything that you feel you need to be careful about
when you ask your clients' opinion on something?

3. Is there anything that you feel you need to be careful about
when you ask your clients opinion on something?
 
  • cropje_jnr

    Senior Member
    English - Australia
    Client's => the opinion of one of your clients.
    Clients' => the opinion of several of your clients.
    3 is incorrect - you must include the possessive apostrophe.
     

    prime123

    Member
    Japan Japanese
    Hello.
    My friends and I listen to the same radio English program and transcribe what is mentioned in the show. Today, we disagreed on the part in red in the following sentence.

    Is there anything that you feel you need to be careful about when you ask your ( 1. client's 2. clients' ) opinion on something?


    We'd appreciate it if somebody could tell us which of the two in the parentheses is more appropriate in the given sentence. Please give us a grammatical explanation why it's more appropriate. Thanks in advance.
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    Hi prime123

    It could be either - talking about one client or more than one client.

    There may be a clue in the previous question and answer: can you tell us those?
     

    gasman

    Senior Member
    Canada, English
    Both are appropriate, depending on whether you have just the one client, or several, all discussing the same thing.
     

    reimasa

    Member
    Japan, Japanese
    Hi, cropje jnr, thank you very much for answering my question. I understand very well and appreciate it a lot.
     

    Seeker89

    Member
    United States
    It's most likely clients' unless there is only one client in question; in that case it's client's.
     

    prime123

    Member
    Japan Japanese
    Thank you so much for your prompt responses.

    It's in the beginning part of a conversation between the teacher, who is a native English speaker, and a Japanese guest.

    **********************
    1. Abe-san, thanks for coming again to the program.

    2. Thank you, Jason-san.

    3. Is there anything that you feel you need to be careful about when you ask your ( clients' /client's) opinion on something?

    4. Sure. Be polite and be honest.

    **********************

    I don't think this context will help much to guess which one the speaker said.
    What does "clients' opinion" mean if there are more than one client?
    Does it mean (1) one opinion that the clients have as a whole group ?
    Or could it mean (2) different opinions different clients have?

    My understanding is (1).

    Thank you very much.

    ** Aside from this, I just found in the textbook of the radio program that the title of the show was "Obtaining Your Client's Opinion about a Potential New Product."
     
    Last edited:

    JamesM

    Senior Member
    I suppose it could be argued that multiple clients are most likely to have differing opinions. :) In that case, "client's opinion" treats it as an individual transaction between you and your client, even if you might be polling all your clients on the topic.

    My instinctive reaction is the same as everyone else's; it could be either, depending on whether you are talking about one client or multiple clients.
     

    prime123

    Member
    Japan Japanese
    Thank you very much for all the answers.
    I'm sorry to have posted two different questions in one thread.
    I think I now understand what the two sentences can mean.

    It's good to learn that the phrase "clients' opinioin" could describe the situations: (1) more than one client have the same opinion and (2) more than one client have different opinions.
    I hope I've got you correctly.

    Thanks again.
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Member Emeritus
    English - England
    Thank you very much for all the answers.
    I'm sorry to have posted two different questions in one thread.
    I think I now understand what the two sentences can mean.

    It's good to learn that the phrase "clients' opinioin" could describe the situations: (1) more than one client have the same opinion and (2) more than one client have different opinions.
    I hope I've got you correctly.

    Thanks again.
    I think not quite, Prime. Clients' opinion means the opinion of clients: i.e.

    More than one client with the same opinion.

    but not your (2) more than one client with different opinions, which would be, surely, clients' opinions.
     

    prime123

    Member
    Japan Japanese
    Thank you for clarifying it Thomas.

    That's exactly what I thought.
    If there are more than one client, it should be clients' "opinions" instead of the singular form "opinion." So if you don't hear the "z" sound at the end of the word 'opinion,' it's more natural to think it as "client's opinion."

    However, I thought James mentioned something different unless I took him wrong.

    I thought he meant "If you see it from the perspective of individual transaction and describe it as a whole, it could be 'clients' opinion'."
    In this case, I think, the noun 'opinion' is considered uncountable.

    Correct me if I'm wrong.
    Thank you very much for your kind help.
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Member Emeritus
    English - England
    I'm still not sure, Prime.

    There are two words: client & opinion.

    If we put opinion - one opinion. If we put opinions - more than one opinion.

    Clients means more than one client, and clients' means of more than one client.

    Clients' opinion - the opinion (singular) held by clients - for some reason they are agreed.
    Clients' opinions - the opinions (more than one) held by clients.

    I hesitate to mention that some people, probably in marketing, might say client opinion which would probably be closer to clients' opinions than clients' opinion. They might say, for instance, client opinion is very varied.
     

    prime123

    Member
    Japan Japanese
    Thank you so much for your kind and clear answer, Thomas.

    Yes, you are right.
    I think I'm clear now.

    Could I ask more?

    I think the following Sentence A is incorrect, but what about Sentence B and C? Are they grammatically correct?

    A: Is there anything that you feel you need to be careful about
    when you ask your clients opinion on something?

    B. Is there anything that you feel you need to be careful about
    when you ask your clients their opinions on something?

    C. Is there anything that you feel you need to be careful about
    when you ask your clients their opinion on something?

    Also, when you talk about "opinions," do you usually put a possessive adjective, such as "her" and "their" in front of the word "opinion"?

    Thank you so much for your great help and precious time.
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Member Emeritus
    English - England
    Thank you so much for your kind and clear answer, Thomas.

    Yes, you are right.
    I think I'm clear now.

    Could I ask more?

    I think the following Sentence A is incorrect, but what about Sentence B and C? Are they grammatically correct?

    A: Is there anything that you feel you need to be careful about
    when you ask your clients opinion on something? - should be clients' opinion - you ask each client their opinion.

    B. Is there anything that you feel you need to be careful about
    when you ask your clients their opinions on something? :tick:

    C. Is there anything that you feel you need to be careful about
    when you ask your clients their opinion on something? :warn: I think the plural clients forces a plural opinion, here.

    Also, when you talk about "opinions," do you usually put a possessive adjective, such as "her" and "their" in front of the word "opinion"? One can talk about opinions in a general way - the boss doesn't think much of my opinions. More normally we talk about someone's opinion on a particular issue.

    Thank you so much for your great help and precious time.

    I've done my best for you in blue, Prime.
     

    prime123

    Member
    Japan Japanese
    Thank you, Thomas, for your brilliant answers on this topic.
    They really helped me understand how to use the word "opinion."

    Thanks a million for your time, kindness and patience.
    It's really difficult for me to use nouns correctly in English.

    I always wonder if a noun is countable or uncountable, if it's a collective noun, if it requires the definite article "the" in front of it, and whatnot.
    Sometimes nouns are used in set phrases and always come with the definite article "the," for example, "over the years."
    And sometimes countable nouns are used without any article, for example, "go to school."
    They are really confusing, but with the kind help from the Word Reference Forum volunteers, I'm learning and my English is getting better every day, hopefully. :)

    Regards,
    Prime
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Member Emeritus
    English - England
    Good. Thank you, Prime. I think your English is pretty good, to judge from your posts here. Those problems you mention will get easier over time, I'm confident. It's a question of becoming familiar with the constructions. Don't hesitate to ask here. There are plenty of knowledgeable people very ready to help, as this thread has illustrated.
     

    danders29

    New Member
    English
    Could someone help me with this context. When the noun trip replaces opinion.
    i.e

    Find your clients perfect trip.

    Could you say:

    1. Find your clients' perfect trip

    or should it read:

    2. Find your clients' perfect trips

    because what i find most used is:

    3. Find your client's perfect trip.

    My understanding it that when speaking in general you would assume there is more than one client. So 3 would be wrong but i'm not sure whether 1 is correct or not?
     
    Top