English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

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.

share|improve this question

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.

share|improve this answer
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

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.