I have the following technical detail to log in work:

There is no communication between each of the ComboBoxes containers

The component is called a ComboBox in singular. Is this correct, or do I need to add an apostrophe to ComboBoxes?

  • 1
    Brian, it's often better to be long-winded. Really spell it out - at length. And repeat yourself redundantly. There is no communication between any ComboBox container, and, any other ComboBox container. It's impossible for any ComboBox container, to communicate with any other ComboBox container. This applies to every ComboBox container.
    – Fattie
    Jun 18, 2011 at 22:00

3 Answers 3


If each container contains one or several ComboBoxes, it might be better to use ComboBox containers instead, in the same way we use apple containers or orange containers to describe containers containing apples or oranges.

Grammatically, ComboBox containers is a compound noun with containers modified by ComboBox.

  • 2
    +1 That's what I thought too. On the other hand, if they are containers within the ComboBoxes, or part of the ComboBoxes (my knowledge of UI design is admittedly minuscule), then he may have to say ComboBoxes' containers.
    – Tragicomic
    Feb 2, 2011 at 11:31
  • Lovely stuff, both answers appreciated. Now I know where the apostrophe would go, and also ComboBox containers sounds better than what I had
    – user4485
    Feb 2, 2011 at 11:53

There is no communication between each of the ComboBoxes containers.

A noun that is used as modifier is used in its singular form, in English; see for example 32-bit architecture.

Instead of using each of, which is better used in sentences like Doug had money from each of his five uncles, I would use each; the sentence would become

There is no communication between each ComboBox container.

Alternatively, it can be changed to

There is no communication between the ComboBox containers.

  • "between each singular-noun" is somewhat problematic. I like your last version best.
    – Ben Voigt
    Jun 18, 2011 at 22:38

I have heard a rule that inanimate objects should not take a possessive. Here is a way to both obey the rule and avoid the apostrophe:

There is no communication among the containers of ComboBoxes.

  • That's weird. The airplane's wings. The jacket's sleeves. The Earth's atmosphere. The flower's smell. The dessert's flavor. The car's engine. The chair's legs. The bed's softness. What's wrong with these? I also find your suggested phrasing awkward.
    – ErikE
    Jun 19, 2011 at 2:16
  • @ErikE, see this Chicago Manual of Style entry for "Possessives and attributes" at chicagomanualofstyle.org/CMS_FAQ/PossessivesandAttributives/…. The OP question falls under the category of "When a possessive gets ugly, give it up." Here are some others that I consider ugly and harsh on the ear: "The lens's aperture," "The Lentz's ship," "Robert Reich's exchange," and "The ComboBoxes's communication." Whether inanimate objects take a possessive for attributes is in a state of flux. Strunk & White say "Never," CMOS says "Sometimes."
    – rajah9
    Jun 20, 2011 at 15:25
  • Style manuals flux away. I'll stop saying "the airplane's wings" when we all have pocket teleportation devices. :)
    – ErikE
    Jun 20, 2011 at 20:22

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