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do I need to use an apostrophe in a sign I had made,

CONTRACTORS ENTRANCE

thanks for your help

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Yes, because you’re expressing possession, ie the entrance BELONGS to the contractors, you should insert an apostrophe:

CONTRACTORS’ ENTRANCE

To determine if it’s permissible to omit the apostrophe, first rephrase it as “entrance of the contractors”. Because “contractors” are people and not furniture, objects, or buildings, you need to include the alostrophe.

If you wants to describe the entrance, ie “what TYPE of entrance is this? Oh, it’s a contractor entrance!”, you can write without the apostrophe, but also omit the “s”:

CONTRACTOR ENTRANCE

This works because when one noun is placed in front of another, the former noun becomes an adjective that describes the latter. Here that means contractor becomes an adjective describing entrance.

That being said, if it’s going on a sign, people will probably understand what you mean regardless, and that’s what’s really important.

https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/621/01/

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  • So are all the examples which adopt the format 'Working Mens Club' (a club used by, though not usually owned by, the said working men) incorrect? – Edwin Ashworth Feb 26 '18 at 17:08

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