the projects' selection [apostrophe?]

Alie Babel

Senior Member
French - France
Hello,

I'm a little confused with the possessive mark (apostrophe). In those random examples, am I right?

I think it depends whether we speak about particular things (using "the") or in general.

And in the second case (generally speaking = no possessive case), the plural mark (= s) must be deleted too, right?

And if it's not a possessive case, then what is it called in grammar?

Thank you

---

Two participants were involved in the projects' selection.
Two participants were involved in the projects selection.

Projects' selection isn't a easy task.
Projects selection isn't a easy task.
Project selection isn't a easy task.

-

The images were shown to the workshop's participants.
The images were shown to the workshop participants

Workshops' participants are to be well-welcomed.
Workshops participants are to be well-welcomed.
Workshop participants are to be well-welcomed.

-

What role did President Roosevelt play in the story's creation?
What role did President Roosevelt play in the story creation?

Story's creation is an inspiring thing to do.

Stories creation is an inspiring thing to do.
Story creation is an inspiring thing to do.
 
  • owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    And in the second case (generally speaking = no possessive case), the plural mark (= s) must be deleted too, right?
    Right. Project selection is normal. Projects selection is strange.

    Two participants were involved in the projects' selection.
    Two participants were involved in the projects selection.
    This is good as long as the two participants were involved in selecting more than one project. If they were only involved in selecting one project, project's selection would be normal.

    The images were shown to the workshop's participants.
    The images were shown to the workshop participants
    I prefer the possessive, but workshop participants doesn't sound terribly wrong to me even if you are referring to the participants of one specific workshop.

    Speaking generally, I agree with your conclusions about how and when to use possessives in your sentences.
     

    Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    You generally have a choice between a possessive or an attributive noun. Attributive nouns are usually singular, and although there are numerous exceptions, you should assume a singular noun is needed unless you know a plural noun is fine.

    Also watch out for determiners, such as articles. Possessives act as a determiner and attributive nouns do not. Therefore, if you are modifying a singular countable noun, you need an article if you use an attributive noun. On the other hand, possessives may have their own determiners, whereas attributive nouns do not.
    • Two participants were involved in the projects' selection.
      Plural possessive with determiner ("the").
    • Two participants were involved in project selection.
      Singular attributive noun without a determiner.
    When the modifying noun really needs a determiner to convey the right meaning (as in "What role did President Roosevelt play in the story's creation?"), then use a possessive (or use some other construction). "What role did President Roosevelt play in story creation?" conveys the wrong meaning.

    When you are referring to a general principle, then you usually need an attributive noun, as in "Story creation is an inspiring thing to do".

    You generally need to use a possessive when you are referring to actual possession or ownership.

    In other situations, you can often use either, and so it is in most of your examples. Note that in your second sentence, "The projects' selection isn't an easy task" refers to the selection of some specific projects, whereas "Project selection isn't an easy task" refers to project selection in general (although this could also be in relation to a specific selection of a project or projects).
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    Noun1 noun2

    Nouns can act attributively, i.e. adjectivally to modify the following noun in this way:
    <Noun1><noun2> = the <noun2> associated with <noun1>

    A beer bottle = a bottle associated with beer.

    There can be several nouns together:

    A beer bottle shape = a shape associated with a bottle that is itself associated with beer.

    NB: When nouns are used together like this, they form one compound noun and cannot be separated.

    The modern {Language Department} :tick:
    The Language modern Department :cross:

    Because the attributive noun acts adjectivally, and in English adjectives are not inflected, it is not common for <noun1> - the attributive noun - to be plural.

    Genitive "s":


    A girl's dress - a dress worn by one girl
    A girl's dresses - dresses that are owned by one girl
    Girls' dress - any clothes worn by girls
    The girls' dresses - the dresses worn by the girls
    Girls' dresses - examples of dresses that girls wear.

    The genitive s is not the same as "of" although also implies an association but a particular sort of association:

    The man's car
    = a car that is associated with the man. However, conventionally, the genitive s creates an association in which there is some sort of (i) control over the noun that may amount to ownership or (ii) some sort of permanent or temporary habitation of the noun. "My friend's house/club."

    In the man's car, we assume that the man owns the car, or has borrowed, or leased it.

    In
    Projects' selection isn't a easy task. You would have to have a determiner: The projects' selection isn't a easy task. but this is not correct as the projects do not have any control over the selection.

    Projects selection isn't a easy task. = This is not correct as "projects" is attributive but is plural
    Project selection isn't a easy task.:tick: = the selection associated with the/a project

    In
    The images were shown to the workshop's participants. There is one workshop and the participants inhabit it.
    The images were shown to the workshops' participants. There are several workshops and the participants inhabit them.
    The images were shown to the workshop participants. The participants are associated in some way with the work shop.
    The images were shown to the workshops participants. This is wrong. The attributive noun - workshops - cannot be plural.
     
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