0

On Stack Overflow, I found a question with the following title:

what is the notepad++ plugin manager server url

While editing the question for readability, I changed the title to:

What is the server URL for Notepad++'s Plugin Manager?

According to Google Chrome's spell checker, Notepad++'s is not a proper word.

Google Chrome spell checker

A similar question established that inanimate objects like 'car' could be possessive, but I'm not sure whether this also applies to program names. (Not to mention the grammatical syntax of ++'s)

Can a program name be possessive? Or is this improper spelling/grammar?

  • 6
    The form of Notepad++ hardly follows the rules of standard English, so hoping for a definite rule here is optimistic. Since most of the people interested in reading this are probably aware that 'Notepad++' is a nominal, using the apostrophe the usual way seems acceptable. – Edwin Ashworth Aug 4 '17 at 15:14
  • 3
    This is just a spellchecker problem, where it is confused by the "++". If you typed "Word's grammar checker" I bet Chrome wouldn't have any problems. – AndyT Aug 4 '17 at 15:15
  • 1
    This isn't about whether program names can be modified by the Saxon genitive. It's just a matter of whether people feel comfortable with the orthography when the relevant noun ends with non-letters. Personally, I've no problem with C++ 's syntax allows variables to be declared as references, but others may have different opinions. Whatever - any answer here would probably just be someone's opinion. – FumbleFingers Aug 4 '17 at 15:19
3

Generally, I would say yes.

Tom's computer
Word's spell checker

Grammatically speaking, there is no difference between these examples.


However, specific to the context of software, the possessive is often omitted.

  • Microsoft Windows, not Microsoft's Windows
  • the Word spell checker, not Word's spell checker
  • the Notepad++ plugin manager, not Notepad++'s plugin manager.

I would expect the possessive to be omitted, even though its inclusion can be considered grammatically correct.


Edit

Notice that in my suggested answer, a definite article has appeared, e.g. "the Word spell checker". This is not specifically related to the reason why it's acceptable to drop the possessive, but it is a consequence.

I refer you to this question (link provided by marcellothearcane)

When you use the possessive, you automatically omit the definite article. This is standard English.
In your specific case, because we have omitted the possessive, we can therefore no longer omit the definite article. We are only able to omit it when there is a possessive.

| improve this answer | |
  • 1
    Key point: the definite article before the program's name... – marcellothearcane Aug 4 '17 at 15:06
  • 1
    @marcellothearcane: Good point. I have instinctively added it without realizing. However, I'm not quite sure how to explain why that definite article is there. I though this was because the use of a possessive automatically omits the definite article (the same applies to Tom's computer), rather than the omission of the possessive requiring an additional definite article. If you look at it that way, the definite article is not key to allowing the omission of the possessive. – Flater Aug 4 '17 at 15:08
  • 'I'm not quite sure how to explain why that definite article is there' me neither, but it sounds right! – marcellothearcane Aug 4 '17 at 15:12

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.