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The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) has a Project Management Body of Knowledge. When referring to the PMBOK, should I use the possessive:

IEEE 's Project Management Body of Knowledge


IEEE Project Management Body of Knowledge

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

From what I could find, the PMBOK is an IEEE standard, but it cannot be said that “IEEE has a PMBOK”. A Google search for “IEEE's PMBOK”, “IEEE's Project Management Body of Knowledge”, “IEEE PMBOK” and “IEEE Project Management Body of Knowledge” all returned few (and irrelevant) hits.

So, I think neither of your sentences is appropriate. The best that can be said, as far as I understand, is that “PMBOK is an IEEE standard”, or to “IEEE’s PMBOK standard”. I'd be happy to revise that opinion if more context was provided, of course!

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That is true, I usually see PMBOK used separately. Maybe I shouldn't force it. Thanks. – John Assymptoth Feb 22 '11 at 21:54

The possessive is used to mention something by name, while the appositive is the actual name of the thing. In practice, there is almost no difference between the two. However, in the latter case, you should use the to indicate that there is only one:

The IEEE PMBOK contains information about best practices in project management.

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I see. Thanks.. – John Assymptoth Feb 22 '11 at 21:58

It depends on whether you use it in a title or not. If the title of the PMBOK is actually The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Project Management Body of Knowledge then no possessive is necessary. If the two things are always referred to separately, and joined only when one wants to emphasize ownership of the PMBOK, then a possessive would be in order.

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Yes, the two words are usually referred separately. Can you give me a reference for the "rule" you just mentioned? – John Assymptoth Feb 22 '11 at 21:39
@John Assymptoth: That depends. Do you have a subscription to The Chicago Manual of Style? – Robusto Feb 22 '11 at 21:41
I'm afraid not. – John Assymptoth Feb 22 '11 at 21:56

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