Q. I’m trying to find a definitive answer to whether an inanimate object can take the possessive form. I have been told that an object cannot possess something, so the ’s form should not be used. Instead of “the vehicle’s speed,” it should be “the speed of the vehicle.” I understand the rule, but can’t find anything here to support it.
Q. I have a sports-related question resulting from a recent conversation with a friend during a baseball game. I maintain that the proper term for that administrative unit overseeing sports at a college or university should be “Athletics Department,” but my friend contended that it is “Athletic Department.” Who’s right?
Q. When forming the possessive for a proper noun rendered with an initialism, should I use ’s, or, because the last word rendered by the initialism is “Services,” should I treat it as a noun plural in form but singular in meaning, and add the apostrophe only? My instinct is to write “FIS's customers” because, plural services or no, FIS is one company. However, on that company's website I see that they form the possessive with the apostrophe only: “FIS' competitive edge.” Thank you for any advice.
Q. I’m working on a legal document in which the defined term “Approved Services” could mean one service or more than one. When I am referencing the “Approved Services’ signal” throughout an agreement, how can either the singular or the plural possessive of the word be written? “Approved Service(’)s(’)” seems right to me, since the apostrophe is what can be used for either meaning, but it looks weird. The author of the document uses “Approved Service(s)’ signals” throughout, but this doesn’t show that the apostrophe is what is in question based on either possible usage.
Q. Our pastor’s surname is Lentz. He is married with children, so there are several people named Lentz living in his house. When an event is scheduled to occur at his home, should we refer to it as “the Lentz’ house,” “the Lentz’s house,” or simply “the Lentz house”?
Q. What is the correct punctuation for an event or location for a group? I have the following examples: delegates’ reception, members’ forum, speakers’ room. Is it correct to always use the apostrophe in this way? Thanks.
Q. We’re hosting a golf tournament where each hole has a refreshment station sponsored by a corporate vendor. For each of the hole signs, we wrote “Refreshments Sponsor” and then put the corporate logo on it. My coworker says each sign should read “Refreshment Sponsor” with the argument that you wouldn’t say “Beverages Sponsor.” What say you?
Q. What is the proper way to cite information found in a footnote? Take, for example, the following footnote: “2. It is however to be observed that in the given proposition there is a certain ambiguity.” I wish to cite this in the footnote of my own paper. In some works, I’ve seen what I suspect to be the same thing accomplished by appending the page number with “f,” e.g., 67f.
Q. I’m editing a book about employment training programs, and I can’t decide how to treat the term One-Stop Career Centers. I capitalize in that instance, but what about when the author says “one-stops” or “one-stop centers”? I am inclined to capitalize only when the entire title is used, but I’m having trouble sticking to that decision. Can you please tell me what you would do?
Q. I’ve encountered a sentence that is giving me more confusion than it should. The sentence in question is this: “Enjoyment is not as an important function for courting as it is for dating.” I cannot figure out if it should read “as important a function.” I think if I could figure out what grammatical function “as” is serving in this sentence, I could make sense of it, but I have been staring at it long enough to addle my brain.