I was watching an episode of Last Week Tonight With John Oliver. It's an American show hosted by an Englishman. He displayed a paragraph of text during the show which read, "The Bad Boys Club' T-shirt." I am confused. The club is called The Bad Boys Club so I figure it's irrelevant that there's not an apostrophe in or after the word Boys. But please can someone explain the lack of an S after the word Club?
You are correct about the punctuation.
First of all, using ' and not 's is typically only done when there is a possessive of a plural subject:
The two cars' engines.
The many Christmas trees' lights.
(In the past, it used to be a stylistic convention to put only a ' after a singular subject that ended in s. Although that is still done by some people, the convention has shifted away from that recently.)
The subject in question here seems to be The Bad Boys Club.
Despite having the plural boys as part of its name, it is a singular club.
There are two ways of interpreting this:
- The Bad Boys Club's T-shirt.
Here, it's a single T-shirt that is owned by the club.
- The Bad Boys Club T-shirt.
Here, it's a type of T-shirt that represents The Bad Boys Club. (The club name acts adjectivally.)
This is similar to wearing a Nike shoe rather than a Nike's shoe.
But in whichever interpretation, the sole apostrophe after Club isn't correct.
This may answer your question. From the 17th edition of the CMS:
Although terms denoting group ownership or participation sometimes appear without an apostrophe (i.e., as an attributive rather than a possessive noun), Chicago dispenses with the apostrophe only in proper names (often corporate names) that do not officially include one. In a few established cases, a singular noun can be used attributively; if in doubt, choose the plural possessive. (Irregular plurals such as children and women must always be in the possessive.)
children’s rights (or child rights)
women’s soccer team
taxpayers’ associations (or taxpayer associations)
consumers’ group (or consumer group)
Department of Veterans Affairs
In some cases, the distinction between attributive and possessive is subtle. Of the following two examples, only the first connotes actual possession.
the Lakers’ game plan (the team’s game plan)
the Lakers game (the game featuring the team)
When in doubt, opt for the possessive.
Basically, there should have been an s after the apostrophe.
See this as well:
The possessive of most singular nouns is formed by adding an apostrophe and an s. The possessive of plural nouns (except for a few irregular plurals, like children, that do not end in s) is formed by adding an apostrophe only.
the horse’s mouth
a bass’s stripes
a herd of sheep’s mysterious disappearance
Chicago does provide a few exceptions to these principles.