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If the cricket ground Lord's is a possessive, what if you want to describe something belonging to Lord's? Would you say "I was very impressed by Lord's's customer services"?

It doesn't look right, so what is the correct way of writing it?

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3 Answers

up vote 8 down vote accepted

I think you kind of answer your own question. If "Lord's" already is a possessive, then there's no need to turn it into a possessive even further. I would just say "Lord's customer services", much like I would say "McDonald's burgers" and "Ben & Jerry's ad slogan" and not "McDonald's's burgers" and "Ben & Jerry's's ad slogan".

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I wouldn't interpret "McDonald's burgers" as possessive, since they are not the burgers of someone named McDonald. While "McDonald's burgers" is fine, I'd think "McDonald's" is being used there as an adjective, parallel to "Burger King burgers" and not to "Burger King's burgers". –  ShreevatsaR Sep 13 '10 at 7:11
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@ShreevatsaR: I agree, and that had crossed my mind before I posted my answer. I had pondered on a few contexts, including "Burger King's customer service is better than McDonald's customer service", where "Burger King's" is a possessive, but "McDonald's" is an adjective. But then I decided that a) it's still perfectly clear to everyone what that sentence means, b) it's more succinct than "Burger King's customer service is better than the customer service provided by McDonald's", and c) it surely beats writing "Burger King's customer service is better than McDonald's's customer service". –  RegDwigнt Sep 13 '10 at 14:03
    
I agree it's clear to everyone, and sounds succint… but it looks odd, especially when written. It's clear what it means, but it doesn't seem like a possessive. I think the right interpretation is that a possessive is not necessary and can be avoided (we can just use the adjective "McDonald's"), rather than that "McDonald's" is the possessive of "McDonald's". –  ShreevatsaR Sep 14 '10 at 6:18
    
@RegDwighт: If "Burger King's vs. McDonald's" is the clearest way of writing it, who cares whether it conforms to various "rules"? The most important rule of good writing in most contexts is to write understandably, all other rules notwithstanding. –  supercat Oct 23 '12 at 5:49
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If you really need the genitive case (possessive), you could say: 'I was very impressed by the customer service of Lord's' or '. . . by the Lord's cricket ground's customer service'. You could also consider Lord's as an adjective describing customer service, which would make it '. . . by Lord's customer service'.

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I suppose if one is very concerned, one could contact them for advice on the matter. I looked at their web site and found that they use the following kinds of forms:

the Lord's Shop provides everything from unique Lord's souvenirs to cricket bats and equipment, ...

.. visit the Lord's Tavern Bar & Brasserie, ...

So it seems RegDwight's answer is correct.

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I'm not sure those examples are possessive: they can easily (and IMHO more naturally) be interpreted as using "Lord's" as an adjective (or whatever it's called), parallel to "the MCC shop" or "unique MCC souvenirs" or "visit the MCC Tavern Bar & Brasserie" (instead of "MCC's"). –  ShreevatsaR Sep 13 '10 at 7:08
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