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I prefer non-possessive form of the name of the club: photographers club of Detroit. Is it correct?

  • Capitalization would be as important as placement of apostrophes. Aug 12, 2012 at 17:35

4 Answers 4


No one can object to Detroit Photographers’ Club. A club has more than one member and that is shown by placing the apostrophe after the s. However, this is one instance where the apostrophe is disappearing: nothing is lost by omitting it altogether.

According to ‘The Cambridge Guide to English Usage’, the removal of the apostrophe from 'plural nouns in phrases which express affiliation . . . is widespread in the English-speaking world' and has the imprimatur of the American Associated Press stylebook and the Australian government Style Manual. As the Cambridge Guide says, ‘the time spent worrying about whether it should really be driver’s licence or drivers’ licence would be better used elsewhere.’

  • With no evidence to back it up, I suspect Brits may be discarding that apostrophe faster than Americans. Also, in some "adjectival noun phrase" contexts, we often discard the pluralising s as well as the possessive apostrophe. To me, "the Student Union building)" sounds perfectly natural, but I don't know whether that's because I was a student, because I'm a Brit, or just because that's what everyone across the world says. Aug 12, 2012 at 13:39
  • @FumbleFingers: I have expanded my answer to show that the disappearance of the apostrophe in such cases is not confined to the UK. Aug 12, 2012 at 14:31
  • Haha - I like that final sentence! (our old "friend" Pam Peters?). I'll leave my comment there because the more general point remains valid, even if there's no UK/US divide. I personally always say "drivers license" (and spell it thus), but all four permutations do occur Aug 12, 2012 at 14:45

It depends on the word photographers. If it's a modifier not a pronoun then you don't need an apostrophe. In which case, I don't think you really need the plural form of it. So it should read:

Photographer club of Detroit.

However, if the word photographers acts as a possessive pronoun, then you need an apostrophe.

Photographers' club of Detroit. Or Photographer's club of Detroit.

  • Surely not Noah's last suggestion "...Photographer's..." - a club would almost certainly have more than one member...
    – DavidR
    Aug 12, 2012 at 11:39
  • @DavidR It's a strange world. I added that because I thought they might have it in Detroit :) just incase.
    – Noah
    Aug 12, 2012 at 11:51

Detroit photography club. The club is about photography; not about photographers. Sewing club, chess club, tennis club. Not tennis players club.


I would agree on the grounds that it is a club consisting of photographers, not a club owned by photographers.

  • 2
    Wrong. The possessive apostrophe can indicate "association" just as much as "ownership". Eric doesn't own his friends any more than I do - but they're still my friends and Eric's friends. Aug 12, 2012 at 11:43
  • @FumbleFingers Quite right. A "Servicemen's Club" is to be found in many towns. Aug 12, 2012 at 13:15

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