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I'm working with a friend on a short sentence for an announcement, and was asked whether the possessive should be used or dropped on program:
Please congratulate our program's graduates.
We believe it may be more correct to simply use:
Please congratulate our program graduates.
The graduates aren't owned by the program, so why express it as such? This seems like a common error.
Are we correct in this assessment?
To expand on the question a bit, in the second case we are simply using program as an adjective for graduates: the type of graduate (ones of our program). I am aware that 's, the genitive case, can mean that something is associated with something else, and not strictly to convey ownership.
Thus, I know that the current form is correct, but am asking whether the second form seems improved, acceptable, or unusual in this example.
This may be a case of something similar to orthographic incredulity, where after staring at something too long it starts to appear wrong. That may be the case here, but I'd appreciate any constructive insight.