I am writing a scientific paper and must refer to a page of Wikipedia (WP for short). Should I write "WP page" or "WP's page"? "WP's page" seems to me to be correct, but somehow it sounds strange...

  • I think using "WP page" is just fine. While talking generally also we use "I read all about it on its wikipedia page (not wikipedia's page)". – v kumar Oct 14 '14 at 11:43
  • 5
    I would not abbreviate Wikipedia. WP brings to mind WordPerfect (for us oldies) or WordPress (for us website builders), but I had no immediate association with Wikipedia. In a scientific paper I would make a point of only using generally accepted and understood abbreviations and acronyms, and I don't think WP is either. – oerkelens Oct 14 '14 at 11:43
  • What @oerkelens said. I've never seen this use of WP , and it doesn't appear in any of Wikipedia's own lists of abbreviations. – FumbleFingers Oct 14 '14 at 12:18
  • 1
    Thank you all for the comments. @oerkelens, my paper is for a community of Physicists who study SocioPhysics and this abbreviation is common in our milieu. – Fernando Sampaio dos Aidos Oct 14 '14 at 13:43
  • Say WP page, not "WP's page." It's a page on the website Wikipedia, it's not a page (necessarily) owned and possessed by Wikipedia. The detailed reasoning for writing WP page, and not "WP's page." may be beyond scope here. – Kris Oct 14 '14 at 14:53

I'm not so sure about the abbreviation WP, but this is a question about a common process in the development of the English language where a noun, especially a genitive becomes functionally an adjective.

For example, I am typing on a computer keyboard. The intent here is "computer's keyboard" or "keyboard of the computer" -- both being the two forms of genitive in English. But over time the genitive noun "computer's" have become shortened to simply an adjectival form of the noun, "computer keyboard."

This morning I drove to work in a car, powered by an engine. The engine was the "car's engine" but we usually just call it in the shortened form "car engine". In Washington DC is a monument to our 16th President, but today it is not called Lincoln's Memorial, it is called the Lincoln Memorial. It was paid for by the United States' government (genitive), but is now managed by the United States government.

If you had a web site Fernando, a page on it would be Fernando's page, because you are not as well known as Wikipedia. However, Wikipedia is well known and ubiquitous enough that I think Wikipedia page would be considered the normal usage.

With your abbreviation though, it might not work as well.

  • The last bit of your second paragraph is not true—the adjunctive use of nouns in English is not a ‘shortening’ of possessive forms. The two have existed side by side since time immemorial, and they are syntactically very different: possessives are determiners, while noun adjuncts are modifiers. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Oct 14 '14 at 15:05

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.