I've come across an intriguing problem while grading a student's work. She wanted to discuss the feeding ground of a whale pod. The original sentence reads "the pod of whales feeding grounds."

My initial reaction was to advise changing it to "the feeding grounds of the pod of whales." However, this feels overly repetitive regarding "of."

Is there a way to correctly punctuate "pod of whales" with an apostrophe to make it possessive?

  • 2
    Would it do to say "the whale pod's feeding ground"? – Chaim Mar 8 '17 at 19:46
  • Use pod of whale's feeding grounds as clear and unfussy. Use pod-of-whales feeding grounds, a little stiff. Or, the feeding grounds serving (or for) the pod of whales. – Yosef Baskin Mar 8 '17 at 20:16
  • @YosefBaskin Shouldn't your first example be pod of whales', with the apostrophe coming after the plural marker? – Anonym Mar 8 '17 at 23:22

There's no good solution, as you noticed. It helps to simplify. Establish the context (whales). Establish pods as well, since it's somewhat technical. Once the reader understands that "pod" will mean a group of whales, then you can simplify the sentence in question. For example:

After characterizing the pod we had identified, we proceeded to catalog the prey species present in our pod's feeding grounds.

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