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Nouns of plural form preceding another noun

When talking about a company that guides professional career of artists (such as illustrators or photographers), helps them build their portfolio, promotes their services, would you refer to it as an "artist management" or "artists management" company?

Google results suggest that both are used: 626,000 results for "artists management" vs. 3.3 million for "artist management".

What's the difference?

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marked as duplicate by FumbleFingers, Matt Эллен, JSBձոգչ, Mahnax, kiamlaluno Aug 24 '12 at 17:25

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The "difference" is that idiomatically, when we use a noun in an "adjectival" role like this, we normally stick to the singular. For example, car maintenance, not cars maintenance. –  FumbleFingers Jul 15 '12 at 23:36
    
... however, this doesn't apply so strongly with all word-pairs. For example, although building management is the more common version, buildings management does occur about 20% of the time. Whereas with fleet management, the plural occurs far less than 1% of the time. –  FumbleFingers Jul 15 '12 at 23:42
    
Possibly "building management" might be ambiguous: are you managing buildings or builders? –  Peter Shor Jul 16 '12 at 1:42

2 Answers 2

I would go with "Artist Management" as the word is intended as a noun and not in any possessive form. For example, I would say, "MT Consulting" and not "MT's Consulting". Though both are grammatically correct, the latter implies a possession, which is not what you're going for.

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This seems to me to be an example of one major usage difference between British and American English. American English prefers the singular nominal adjective while British English prefers the plural. The /-s/ suffix is not intended to indicate possession but plurality.

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Do you have sources for your assertion that it's different for British and American English? –  JLG Jul 16 '12 at 3:03
    
I read a lot (always have), studied English and American literature in graduate school, and have friends who are native speakers of British English and American English. Because we're all English as a foreign language (EFL) teachers, we talk about these kinds of things constantly. BrE speakers tell me what's normal in BrE and AmE speakers tell them what's normal in AmE. Caveat: Not all native speakers use the same conventions when speaking their native language. My assertion is a generalization, not something that's true 100% of the time. –  user21497 Jul 21 '12 at 4:15

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