What is the possessive form of disease, as in "Lyme disease's symptoms"

I wouldn't think to just use an apostrophe – disease' – as it doesn't end in an "s," but disease's doesn't look quite right and is highlighted by spellcheck (not that that really means anything).

  • 2
    What spell checker are you using? That looks quite right to me. Try just "The disease's symptoms are serious" and see if that's also an error. – Zebrafish May 9 at 4:00
  • Just the default chrome/google docs spellcheck. – The_Bob May 9 at 4:29
  • Personally, I would just write "the symptoms of Lyme disease ..." for clarity. – TrevorD May 9 at 17:02

"Disease symptoms" is a correct, or at least by far the most common usage.

Google search "Lyme disease symptoms" gives 537,000 results and "Lyme disease's symptoms" 242 results.

In "disease symptoms," disease is not a possessive noun but a noun adjunct or modifier. Similar examples are chicken soup and brick wall.

And if anyone disagrees with this...in medical texts, the usage often does not follow strict grammar rules.

By the way, you can use Lyme or Lyme's disease, Crohn or Crohn's disease...

  • They don't quite mean the same thing. "Lyme disease symptoms" is indefinite or generic (it could be rephrased as "symptoms of Lyme disease") while "Lyme disease's symptoms" is definite (it could be rephrased as "the symptoms of Lyme disease"). – sumelic May 27 at 21:59

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