General Question

lessonenglish's avatar

Use of apostrophe. What is the correct answer?

Asked by lessonenglish (278points) January 25th, 2011

1. The wine names are not displayed correctly
(There are many wines, Each wine has its own name)

2. The users’ status is shown incorrectly.
(There are number of users and each user has different status)

3. The user’s name is shown incorrectly.
(One user has its own name)

4. The user’s names is shown incorrectly.
(Only one user and it has different names).

Which of these sentences are correct?

I want to make a sentence for many users each having its own name.

In which type my senetnce will be fit?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

8 Answers

WasCy's avatar

1. Correct as is. No changes needed.
2. “The users’ statuses are shown incorrectly.” (As written, “users” is plural and “users’” is “the status(es) of the users”.)
3. Correct as is.
4. “The user’s names are shown incorrectly.” (This seems a mistake in itself, but you specifically asked for it. ‘Users’ shouldn’t have multiple names, as a general rule.)

For your final request: The users’ names are shown incorrectly.

Seelix's avatar

I have to disagree with @WasCy – although “The wine names are not displayed correctly” is not incorrect, I think it’s more natural to say “The wines’ names”.

Otherwise, I think his answer is spot on.

WasCy's avatar

@Seelix I would certainly agree that from a point of view of style and readability your suggestion is appropriate. I’d modify my first statement, then, to say that it is “not incorrect, but not optimum” ... and then offer exactly what you said as a preferred alternative.

If the example given had been “The child names were not displayed correctly,” then it would have been obvious that “children’s” would have been a needed correction. “Wine names” didn’t seem to be ‘wrong enough’ to require correction (especially for a new speaker).

the100thmonkey's avatar

Isn’t there a preference in English for the ~‘s possessive to be used with people, and the ‘of’ possessive to be used with inanimate objects?

I find “the names of the wines are not displayed correctly” more natural, although it does seem a bit formal.

MrItty's avatar

1) There is no possessive. “Wine” in this case is acting as an adjective, modifying “names”. (“What kind of names?” “Wine names”.)

2) Grammatically correct, but not what you stated. There is one status, and it belongs to all of the users.

3) perfectly fine

4) Grammatically incorrect. The noun “names” is plural, therefore the verb “to be” must be conjugated in the plural “are”, not the singular “is”.

MrItty's avatar

@WasCy There’s nothing wrong with one user having multiple usernames. I belong to a CMC utility in which you are allowed to reserve up to three handles, and can choose which one you want to use at any given time.

WasCy's avatar

@MrItty if the term used had been “usernames” instead of “user names”, then I may have stated pretty much what you just did. But in common parlance wouldn’t you say that “a user” is “a person” who has “a name”?

I have five usernames in Yahoo!Spades. Maybe we should play some day.

MrItty's avatar

@WasCy I see your point – I think it’s at least ambiguous. We can both be right. :-)

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