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Which sentence is correct:

"Menace II Society co-director Allen Hughes liked the location."

"Menace II Society's co-director Allen Hughes liked the location."

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  • Both. I prefer the second.
    – Michael
    Apr 19, 2016 at 16:34
  • @Michael: By that logic, you should prefer a "phantom" apostrophe in Jaws director Steven Spielberg. But I'd be surprised if many (or even any) of the 10,000 Google hits there have an apostrophe. I think most people would naturally use the "noun adjunct" syntax in all cases, not just the ones that might lead to problematic pronunciation or orthography. Apr 19, 2016 at 16:47
  • What do you do for Weekend at Bernie's?
    – deadrat
    Apr 19, 2016 at 17:18
  • That's another reason the first option is better--no possessive means no issues with titles like this.
    – user66965
    Apr 19, 2016 at 18:37

1 Answer 1

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Both are correct. In the first, "Menace II Society co-director" serves as Allen Hughes' title--it is in effect an adjective. The second, "Menace II Society's co-director," involves a possessive, and "Allen Hughes" gives a name to what the movie possesses, that is, a co-director.

If Allen Hughes were the sole director, commas would be required in the second sentence ("Menace II Society's director, Allen Hughes, liked the location"), because "Allen Hughes" would be superfluous (non-essential) information--the "director" and "Allen Hughes" are identical. But because there are in fact two or more co-directors, it is not enough to say simply that the movie's co-director liked the location--without the name included, we wouldn't know which of the co-directors is meant. Thus the name becomes essential information, and is not set off by commas.

Personally, I would opt for the first. Simpler, less typographical fuss (and, speaking of typography, the "apostrophe-s" should not be italic--it is not part of the movie's name.)

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  • To add to your explanation, the second sentence anthropomorphizes the movie, giving it the human characteristic of being able to possess something, in this case, the co-director. In some situations the first sentence is preferred because the second sentence implies less agency to the subject of the sentence. (it is rude to address someone as "Joe's wife" or "The star of that one movie" because you're tying their accomplishments to someone or something else - although mileage may vary and opinions can change)
    – Kingrames
    Apr 19, 2016 at 19:23

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