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The subheading of this news story says, "Threatened showers don't mute crwods' enthusiasm" [sic].

Separate from the misspelling of crowds, is it appropriate for the apostrophe to go before or after the 's'?

  • The enthusiasm of the crowd.
  • The enthusiasm of the crowds.

I feel that an argument might be made for both.

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  • In the article there were 450,000 people there in three days so it could well be that the writer did mean crowds. Grammar is rarely top of the list in newspaper headline writing (although spelling usually is).
    – Frank
    Commented May 25, 2014 at 4:49
  • You're right, an argument might be made for both, depending on whether you're talking about one crowd or several.
    – keshlam
    Commented May 25, 2014 at 4:53
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    When a crowd is singular and when it is plural is a moot point, and depends largely on individual people's usage. Some will say 'there were crowds of onlookers', others will say 'there was a crowd of onlookers'. Some might argue that a crowd is always singular unless there is specific reason to see it as plural, such as attendances at an event over several days.
    – WS2
    Commented May 25, 2014 at 8:47

2 Answers 2

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If there is a single crowd "The enthusiasm of the crowd" is correct, as is "The crowd's enthusiasm".

If there were multiple crowds, "The enthusiasm of the crowds" and "The crowds' enthusiasm" would be correct.

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  • You are right, though in a rather pedantic way. A large group of people is usually referred to as 'the crowds' especially in news reporting.
    – Kris
    Commented May 25, 2014 at 5:07
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It's crowds' all right, not crowd's.

It is idiomatic to say the crowds (not the crowd) in the given context. cf. 'controlling the crowds,' 'hordes of people,' ...

Look at this.

enter image description here

Crowds of fans cram the streets during the world premiere of "The Hobbit" movie in Courtenay Place in Wellington on November 28, 2012. (AFP Photo / Marty Melville)

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  • But sadly the usage later in the article OP quotes: '... but she said the crowd was just as vibrant as she remembered them ...' would strongly suggest crowd's. So not all right. (I'd use 'the crowd were' here.) Commented May 25, 2014 at 14:55
  • @EdwinAshworth Incidentally, "you'd use 'the crowd was' here".
    – Kris
    Commented May 26, 2014 at 6:29
  • 'The crowd were just as vibrant as John remembered them.' Looks like you're wrong. This answer shows why. Commented May 26, 2014 at 8:25
  • @EdwinAshworth Do we need to go all the way to "this answer" for that? Still unsure?
    – Kris
    Commented May 26, 2014 at 12:40
  • You're the one saying I shouldn't use accepted concord with a collective considered as individuals rather than as a whole. I thought you might be offended if I left out the hedging 'Looks like'. But now I'll say it. You're wrong. And please don't instruct me 'you'd use ...' unless you've got your facts right. I've also downvoted your answer as it claims "It's crowds' all right, not crowd's." I'm not sure how you can say sheeldotme's answer is right and not withdraw yours. Commented May 26, 2014 at 14:39

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