students' vs student's

oloekis

Senior Member
She has developed skills in identifying problems from constantly analyzing student’s/students' language use.

Hi, what is the factor in this sentence that determines the plurality if she has taught numerous students for a long period but taught one student at a time?

Last edited:
• shop-englishx

Banned
student’s language use. = One student
students' language use. = More than one student.

Wait for a native speaker.

Cenzontle

Senior Member
student’s language use. = One student
students' language use. = More than one student.

oloekis

Senior Member
Well I am aware of that. What confuses me is whether I can use both, without making any grammatical error when the context suggests both.

Parla

Member Emeritus
Your sentence should use the plural, students'.

If you want to say that she analyzes them one by one, then say each student's.

oloekis

Senior Member
Hi Parla,

If the sentence uses students', what are the meanings that can be deduced from it?

Cenzontle

Senior Member
"analyzing students' language use" = analyzing the use of language by some number of students (greater than one).
"analyzing student’s language use" Even with apostrophe-s, that (singular) "student" needs a determiner in front: "each student's...", "the student's...", etc.

oloekis

Senior Member
"analyzing students' language use" = analyzing the use of language by some number of students (greater than one).
"analyzing student’s language use" Even with apostrophe-s, that (singular) "student" needs a determiner in front: "each student's...", "the student's...", etc.

Thanks for the reply! Is this a fixed rule that only singular noun requires a determiner? The plural noun here, students, doesn't need a determiner as well?

heypresto

Senior Member
No, the plural would need a determiner ('the') if you are talking about a specific set of students.

If, for instance, she had been analysing the language of one particular class, or school, we would write ' . . . analysing the students' language use'.