member's/members'/members area

Discussion in 'English Only' started by madsh33p, Sep 13, 2010.

  1. madsh33p Senior Member

    English - UK, German - Germany
    Hi everyone,

    I am working on the development of a website and we want to include an area that is reserved for registered members and that requires a log-in.

    I have searched the internet for the correct spelling, but, as is so often the case when an apostrophe might be involved, I have found various ways of spelling this:

    - member's area
    - members' area
    - members area

    Thinking the various options through, I can't rule any of them out for sure.

    What do you think? Any help and input would be greatly appreciated.

    (I personally tend towards members' area because it is the area reserved for members)
  2. Cameljockey Senior Member

    British English
    Members' is correct as member's would mean that there is only one member.

    Also, re the correctness or otherwise of your third option, you might want to read this recent thread.
  3. MilkyBarKid Senior Member

    British English
    I agree. It is an area reserved for/'belonging to' members, so members' area

    members area strikes me as a section set aside for arms and legs, collected at a jumbo jet crash site, until they find the torso to match. :eek:
  4. Nunty

    Nunty Modified

    Hebrew-US English (bilingual)
    OK, I want to thank you very much for that image, MBK. :(

    I am trying to decide if this formula is different from "homeowners association" (for example), where we have an association of homeowners, but not one that belongs to them.
  5. MilkyBarKid Senior Member

    British English
    No. 'homeowners' is being used as an adjective, describing the nature, the type of association.

    ratepayers association
    football association
    press association
  6. nzfauna

    nzfauna Senior Member

    Wellington, New Zealand
    New Zealand, English
    I can probably rationalise the use of either version - they each have different meanings. One is not necessarily correct over the others...

    - member's area = an area of a member, belonging to a member
    - members' area = an area of members, belonging to more than one member
    - members area = an area for members
  7. madsh33p Senior Member

    English - UK, German - Germany
    That is exactly the problem I have been having so far.
    At this point, I think I am happy to exclude member's area, since, as Cameljockey pointed out, this would imply one single member. So really not what we want to convey.

    As for the other two options, I agree that both are correct. Which makes it a question of preference, I guess.
    What do you all think? Do you have a preference for one over the other? Does one imply something specific (as mentioned by MilkyBarKid)? Would you be surprised (pleasantly or unpleasantly) to see one or the other?

    Thank you so much for all your help.
  8. Cameljockey Senior Member

    British English
    You say that 'homeowners' is being used as an adjective, but isn't the phrase actually two nouns forming a compound noun? 'Homeowners' may qualify 'association', but it doesn't describe it.

    This was argued in the 'pleasure experience? 'thread recently, where I suggested that:
    'An adjective must (by definition) describe its noun. Cold soup is cold, a hot girl is hot. A jewellery box is not jewellery, and a morning newspaper is not morning. So the qualifying noun in a compound noun fails this basic and most critical test of an adjective.'

    I'd be interested to get more views.

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