Possessive: The building/ building's front door? Women's restrooms? ...

tetsuo blather

Member
Germany - German
Hello,

I am often wondering about the 's possessive in the floowing structures:

[talking about the entrance of a building]

The building's front door vs. The building front door


Other examples:

Women's restrooms vs. Women restrooms

The auditorium's stage vs. The auditorium stage

The banquet room's podium vs. The banquet room podium.


Thanks in advance,

:)
 
  • Gwan

    Senior Member
    New Zealand, English
    Hello,

    I am often wondering about the 's possessive in the floowing structures:

    [talking about the entrance of a building]

    The building's front door vs. The building front door


    Other examples:

    Women's restrooms vs. Women restrooms

    The auditorium's stage vs. The auditorium stage

    The banquet room's podium vs. The banquet room podium.


    Thanks in advance,

    :)
    Good question.
    I would go for the building's front door. Don't know why.

    Definitely women's restrooms. Women restrooms sounds like, um, women are the facilities on offer... Female restrooms is possible, but that's another question.

    The auditorium's stage or the auditorium stage both sound okay to me. Maybe even the second is better. Again, don't know why.

    And the banquet room's podium and banquet-room podium both seem possible as well. Again, the second is perhaps a bit better.

    No idea of the reasoning behind any of these choices, sorry.
     

    Gwan

    Senior Member
    New Zealand, English
    Actually, 'the building front door' probably sounds wrong because of the use of building to modify certain nouns, e.g. 'the building momentum', 'the building excitement'...
    Still no clues on the others.
     

    panjandrum

    Occasional Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    If you look at the long list of threads in the dictionary entry for possessive you will see two threads that are directly relevant:
    Possessive - using 's with inanimate nouns
    Possessive - using 's with inanimate nouns.

    You'll see that native speakers tend to avoid using possessive 's with inanimate objects by using other constructions. That is a tendency, not a rule. Well, it's not a universal rule. As you'll discover in one of the above threads, some consider that it is a rule :)
     
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