English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

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

Which of these forms is better: list of tasks or tasks' list? Another question is whether I should use an apostrophe or not (tasks's list vs tasks list).

Other phrases which are similar to this, but aren't quite what I'm looking for, are list of projects and task's action (one task this time).

Maybe the answer is obvious, but English is not my native language so I need to understand it.

share|improve this question
This is also commonly called a 'to-do list'. – onomatomaniak Sep 23 '11 at 11:11
Not exactly. These "tasks" are some kind of items in my application. If I mention task list in documentation, I mean a list of these items. – alekwisnia Sep 23 '11 at 11:18
Oops! Got it now. – onomatomaniak Sep 23 '11 at 11:25
up vote 10 down vote accepted

The usual phrase is "task list" (without plural or apostrophe).

"List of tasks" is perfectly acceptable, and perhaps preferable in general writing; but in referring to a list (almost like a name for it) "task list" is overwhelmingly the common expression.

"Tasks' list" would be very unusual: the possessive 's and its variants are usually used only for real possession, not for more general relationships; and tend not to be used for abstract nouns, though this is not a firm prohibition.

share|improve this answer
Ok, so generally I use possesive 's in phrases like "person's belongings" or "Joe's umbrella" and ommit this in phrases like "project launch date" or "task duration". – alekwisnia Sep 23 '11 at 12:14
Absolutely. All four of those examples work. – Colin Fine Sep 23 '11 at 12:53

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.