I am wondering about which sentence is correct?

It is therefore measuring the volatility of an investors asset.


It is therefore measuring the volatility of an investor's asset.


I agree with Imjohns3; the correct answer is number two.

The use of an apostrophe to indicate possession or ownership of, or belonging to, is relatively straightforward. Here are a few rules and examples:

1.) With a singular noun (even if it ends in S), simply add an apostrophe after the singular noun, and add an S.

For example, the cat's toy, the bus's windows, the desk's color, the banana's texture, the fish's taste, the gas's fumes, Sally's chair, Bob's wallet, Willis's teeth, etc.

In other words, the toy belongs to the cat, the window belongs to (is a part of) the bus, the color "belongs to" (is a part of) the desk, Willis's teeth are the teeth that belong to a guy named Willis, etc.

2.) With a plural noun, whether or not it ends in S, simply add an apostrophe after the plural word and then add an additional S

For example, the cats' toy, the cats' toys, the buses' windows, the apples' weight, the people's opinion (people is plural), the men's room, the women's clothing, the Jones's house (there are two or more people with the name of Jones who possess the house), etc.

In other words, the one toy belongs to (is owned or shared by) two or more cats; two or more toys belong to (are owned or shared by) two or more cats; the windows belong to (are part of) two or more buses; the weight belongs to two or more apples; the room is owned by more than one man (a "men's restroom." on the other hand, is where men--plural--are free to go), etc.

3.) When singular or plural nouns end in S or SS, if by adding an additional S the word's pronunciation becomes difficult, put only an apostrophe after the word.

For example, Moses' leadership in Israel, Jesus' parables, the glasses' weight, the Joneses' family reunion, the breakfasts' combined cost, etc.

  • Modern usage seems to be veering away from apostrophe usage for associative rather than true possessive constructions: Wigan Dogs Home; Wigan Working Mens Club; travellers cheques; we bought the children's clothing from the childrens clothing department at K Lewis. – Edwin Ashworth Aug 9 '13 at 23:06
  • You could be right. Being a little behind the times, I tend to favor the use of apostrophes, but I've been known to obviate their use at times by recasting a sentence. E.g., "I dropped off Fido at the Wigan Home for Dogs." Or, "Jim became a member of the Wigan Club for Working Men," etc. (Not that I'd change your examples; I simply modified them for illustrative purposes!) As for travelers checks: agreed, although I prefer one L in travelers (AE). – rhetorician Aug 10 '13 at 1:38
  • There isn't, to my knowledge (and I live fairly close), a Wigan Working Men(')s Club, but many ... Working Mens Club 's (apostrophe used by me to pluralise word-as-word!) are titled without apostrophes (eg Wellfield / Woking / Compton Central / Daventry / Skellow Grange / Neath / Silverdale & District / Weymouth & Melcombe Regis / Buckley, from the first three pages alone of Google hits). – Edwin Ashworth Aug 10 '13 at 16:01
  • Thanks for the additional information. I'm not sure what you mean by "Working Mens Club 's (apostrophe used by me to pluralise word-as-word!)." Is the word "club" in BE considered a plural noun? You know, in BE the wording of the following sentence would be "ABC Company HAVE ramped up production recently"; whereas in AE it would be "ABC Company ramped up ITS production recently." Just wunderin'. – rhetorician Aug 10 '13 at 18:43
  • As in 'You have used too many like's in the third sentence.' I was just mentioning the fact that there are many instances (and citing a few) of ..... Working Mens Club. In BE, the concord is usually 'logical' (and reasonably logical!) for collective nouns: The team was founded in 1879 but The team were despondent after their defeat. – Edwin Ashworth Aug 11 '13 at 22:21

The second one is correct. The sentence describes the volatility of an asset owned by an investor, so it is an "investor's" asset.

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