Quick Punctuation Question

<p>ABC High School Boys' Soccer Team
ABC High School Boys Soccer Team</p>

<p>As a "title" for an action collage should I use the apostrophe or not? I think it's plural possessive, but my friend disagrees. She says the team doesn't belong to the boys that it's more of an adjective. Help!</p>

<p>What should it be?</p>

<p>Lose the apostrophe.</p>

<p>^ I agree. "Boys" is functioning as what's called a noun adjunct there (a noun adjectivally modifying the noun phrase "Soccer Team"), so there's no possession.</p>

<p>Thanks! I was having trouble squeezing it in anyway!!!</p>

<p>The genitive case is in fact used for several things besides possession. </p>

<p>A Dictionary of Contemporary American Usage identifies seven genitive types:</p>

<pre><code>Classifying or descriptive genitive ("the room's furnishings")

Possessive genitive ("Irene's coat")

Subjective and objective genitive ("God's creation")

Genitive of purpose ("He has written many children's books.")

Measures and other adverbial genitives ("At one time the genitive form of certain words could be used as an adverb. Most of our adverbs that end in an 's' (or 'z') sound, such as "nowadays," "since," "sometimes," "upwards," are survivals from this period.)

Survivals of "an old genitive of source" ("hen's eggs")

<p>Partitive and appositive genitives (don't exist in English, but we express them with an "of" phrase, as in "some of us," "the state of Ohio," "the title of president")</p>

<p>Since there is so much confusion about the genitive, I think you could go with or without the "'s" and be safe.</p>

<p>^ When I said that "there's no possession," I was indeed being sloppy; I meant that there is no need to use the genitive case. I agree with everything you wrote, but it'd actually probably be safer to avoid using the genitive case here if only because it's quite rare to use it in noun adjunct constructions, regardless of the breadth of the genitive case's possible uses.</p>

<p>The ' is not needed here :)</p>

<p>It never would have occurred to me to put in the apostrophe...</p>

<p>ST, this is indeed an interesting topic.</p>

<p>In American English, and even in BrE, the use of attributive or adjunct nouns is restricted to nouns in the singular form (school bus, vegetable soup).</p>

<p>Noun adjuncts should not be plural (except when the noun is already plural:* jeans pocket*, arms race) and the genitive is technically necessary but not using it would not constitute a major sin for me.</p>

<p>Is the boys *in *boys soccer team being used attributively? I don't think so. If you take out the soccer *you get *boys team. That to me is genitive (boys' team), not attributive, like boy band.

<p>Did a quick google search using "boys' soccer team". All but one omitted the apostrophe. Looks like not many are knowledgeable about genitive case...</p>

<p>ellemenope, some forms of the genitive, which can be quite confusing, are disappearing.</p>

<p>One reason it is dying out, IMO, is because of apostrophe confusion in general. The apostrophe is so misused and misunderstood that many careful writers avoid using it when not quite sure, while others use it indiscriminately.</p>

<p>If you do a google search with a filter, like nytimes.com, you see a mixture: not a fifty-fifty split, but a clear majority favoring the genitive case (boys' soccer team). But as you say, without a filter, most folks omit the apostrophe.</p>

<p>It is so interesting to watch how language changes and evolves.</p>