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I have written and feel that it is correct because it is relating to fixed location (The Terracotta Army).

This historical sites story is beautiful.

But I am unable to explain to a colleague why "sites" is plural. They feel it should read as:

This historical site story is beautiful.

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  • To be clear, is it a story about several historical sites?
    – NVZ
    Commented Jan 26, 2016 at 6:05
  • This story of historical sites is beautiful, This is a beautiful story of historical sites
    – NVZ
    Commented Jan 26, 2016 at 6:08
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    I think it would be better to write "This historical site's story is beautiful" or "The story of this historical site is beautiful." But as NVZ said, we'll need to know more about what exact meaning you want to express.
    – herisson
    Commented Jan 26, 2016 at 6:18

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Site's is not plural in that sentence. It is possessive. There must be an apostrophe between the root word "site" and the possessive suffix "s." The story belongs to the historical site. The sentence is the equivalent of saying, "the story of this historical site is beautiful."

In the alternative, your coworker could be using the term "historical site" as an adjective. Normally, use of such a term calls for hyphenation, so the best way to write it would be, "this historical-site story is beautiful." That sentence conveys a similar but different meaning. It would be the equivalent of saying "this story, which is about a historical site, is beautiful."

The big difference between the two is that the person saying the first sentence cares about some historical site that is ascertainable to the listener. She's talking about THIS historical site's story. The speaker of the second sentence, however, does not care about the actual site. She is talking about THIS story, which happens to mention some historical site that the listener may not even know.

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  • Many thanks for this explaination. It makes it clear and easy to follow.
    – Tim
    Commented Jan 26, 2016 at 6:37

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