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The AP style guide suggests that things like "Farmers Markets" or "Veterans Cemeteries" cannot "belong" to the members of the groups for which they were set up.

I would posit that a thing for the use of a group (e.g., farmers or veterans), has an implied ownership...more collectively, but I feel it's ownership nonetheless, and would write farmers' market and veterans' cemetery.

Anyone have any experience with this, and can anyone explain the subtleties of ownership vs non-ownership in these cases? I'm trying to wrap my head around why AP chose the guideline they did.

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Could you post an excerpt of the guide you are referring to? That sounds very strange to me. I would use Farmers' markets.

Google ngrams seems to agree with me, farmers' market is by far the commonest form with farmer's markets and farmers markets distant seconds.

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apstylebook.com/?do=ask_editor&pg=faq << look for the "Possessive vs. Descriptive" FAQ entry. If you subscribe to the guide, there's more detail past the login screen. –  dwwilson66 Jul 9 '13 at 15:32
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