I am always confused where to use a "possessive apostrophe".

From what I found on the internet it seems to me that children's literature is correct. What about garden chair? In my eyes it's the same. Garden is describing what kind of chair it is. Children is also describing what kind of literature I have in my mind.

Could someone please explain?

  • Inanimate things don't possess other things, they can only modify them. – Ricky Mar 30 '17 at 12:40
  • @Ricky I don't understand. So what about garden chair? – Radek Mar 30 '17 at 12:46
  • Does garden chair, in your example, mean "a chair made of garden" or "a chair in the garden" or "a chair for use with a garden" or "a chair for use by a garden" or something else? Normally, it would mean "a chair used in the garden", so "garden" is an adjective, not a possessive. – Davo Mar 30 '17 at 13:27
  • @Davo so children literature means literature for children. And children's literature means literature owned by children? – Radek Mar 30 '17 at 13:38
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    You are asking why, if chicken soup is made of chicken, cat food is not made of cats. – Yosef Baskin Mar 30 '17 at 16:40