I had a spat with a coworker. We are compiling a software feature list. One of the entries was the "Employee Profile". However, we wanted to write it down in plural. So, which one should it be?

1 - Employee Profiles
2 - Employees Profiles
3 - Employees' Profiles

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe the following:

1 - Correct
2 - Incorrect
3 - Works, too

  • I agree with your assessment in that both 1 and 3 are fine and 2 is plain wrong. My own preference would be for 3 over 1, though, since the periphrastic genitive, profiles of employees, makes perfect sense as a substitution here. Pressing a noun into service as an attributive adjective, as in 1, works, but the overuse of that device is a hallmark of bad style. When it is done in English, in any case, it is not to be inflected plural to match the base noun. No one brings "bottles openers" to a picnic. May 18, 2015 at 15:03
  • Good, except the uncalled-for and unsubstantiated opinion about "bad style". May 19, 2015 at 8:07

1 Answer 1


1 and 3 in this instance would be correct.

1) 'Employee Profile' is a complete noun phrase with 'employee' - in this instance - not a noun in its own right but a 'noun adjunct'. It is playing the part of a modifier for the subject noun 'Profile' and it is only this word that would take the plural.

3) Also correct but for a different reason. Here they are two separate nouns. 'Employee' in this instance is taking a possessive which splits the complete noun phrase seen in choice 1. So for proper agreement both would need to be conjugated to the plural.

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