We r in a unique kind of grammatical confusion! Thought it would be apt to share it with you all and get your opinion over the same.

We have an association of our business Community in Mumbai(Bombay), India. And all these years the Association's name was printed as STAINLESS STEEL MERCHANTS ASSOCIATION.

Just recently in one of the meetings it was thought that the name is not really correct in entirety.

Some proposed that the name should have been STAINLESS STEEL MERCHANTS' ASSOCIATION while some thought that the earlier one is itself correct.
(If you notice the emphasis is on the "apostophe"(') after the word "MERCHANTS".

It would be really kind of you'll to pour in your thoughts and comments and suggest which of the two is correct, or if there is any other correct name!

Kind Regards
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It is difficult to believe that this is your first post, Anandjidedhia, because I have already responded to this question once, several days ago. If you find yourself unsatisfied with the responses, it would be better to express your reservations there or bump your original thread forward so that previous remarks can be reviewed and not re-written.

As I said then, while the apostrophe may be a requirement of strict grammar-- and I am not sure that is the case-- you should consider that this name must be reproduced multitudes of times on letterhead, in advertisements, and by the membership at large. The addition of the apostrophe only opens you up to increased misspellings, arguments with printers, etc., and is hardly worth the effort or concern being lavished upon this minor problem. My advice is to stick with your own precedent. If you were the Indian Grammarians' Association, that would be another matter. The latter organisation would probably dub itself 'The Association of Indian Grammarians'. How does 'The Association of Stainless Steel Merchants' sound to you?
To be completely correct, it would be "merchants' ", i.e., with the apostrophe.

Grammar is not the only consideration in your case, however. If it will be very costly to change the name, you may decide not to change it after all. I am referring to changing signs, advertisements, letter heads, and so on. Not knowing the laws in India, I don't know whether this is a name change that would have to be registered with a govermental agency, relicensed, or what not. Depending how large a task it is to make the change and how large a budget you have, it may be more cost efficient to forego absolutely complete correctness!
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We've got to stop meeting like this, Jim-- people will start to talk.


I suspect most will say that "STAINLESS STEEL MERCHANTS' ASSOCIATION" is correct because it is the merchants' association. That is, they own it, so it ought to be possessive. There is nothing wrong with that logic.


It is merely a title. The Actors Studio in New York, where many famous actors learned their craft. You can see their title on their web page here.

Let's look at how some others do it:
Uniformed Fire Officers Assocation

Asian American Journalists Association

New York Woman's Bowling Assocation (interesting it is not Womens')

California Narcotic Officers' Association

California State Juvenile Officers Assocation
Los Angeles Film Critics Assocation

Montana Broadcasters Assocation

So you see, you have options. I think you can choose the form you like best. If it were me, I'd think about the overall aesthetics on how it looks on business cards and stationary. But you might have different criteria.

I hope this provides some food for thought.


For future reference:
Keywords: Association, Actors Studio, Possessive

I am curious, MountainHiker, about how you found those. I considered a google search for some authentic examples, but couldn't decide on a search phrase, so gave up without trying. Did you just use 'association'?
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Mr. Micawber,

Good. Let them talk. It will keep them out of our hair!

It's got to be morning for you, right? It's about 10:30 pm here. I never did look up the time difference.

Take care!

California Jim
Hi, MountainHiker,

I was actually considering an appeal to the Germanic noun-compounding nature of English to argue for leaving off the apostrophe. Emotion: whisper But there are sometimes PG's (prescriptive grammarians) lurking about. One needs to be careful.

Mister Macawber and CalifJim,

With regard to the google search, I just picked states and/or cities and association. Then I just looked at the first page or two of each search. I then moved on to the next state/city and assocation. Nothing too fancy.

CalifJim, I had seen a question similar to this before. It concerned The Actors Studio. Someone wanted to know the correct form of The Actors Studio in New York. Most everyone answered wrong. I like watching the inteviews on Bravo from The Actors Studio and had noticed that its name "missed" an apostrophe. So I simply provided that person with the URL.

Also, I sometimes watch Lou Dobbs MoneyLine on CNN. Again, no apostrophe. In his case, there was a bit of a tussle. CNN's position is that Lou doesn't own MoneyLine. He is merely their announcer/commentator. So no apostrophe. Whatever.

I think we all gave great answers, so the original question should be thoroughly answered.

Good night all!

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