Possessives and Attributives

Q. It just occurred to me that “Achilles’ heel” is wrong, according to CMOS 7.17. It should be “Achilles’s heel,” right?

Q. We are adding Indigenous Peoples’ Day to our company calendar. Is the apostrophe appropriate, as with Presidents’ Day, or no apostrophe, as in Veterans Day?

Q. I understand CMOS’s position on this, but I need help with my argument. Our company’s acronym is singular and ends in an S, just like CMOS. I want to write it with an apostrophe s when needing possession, but others want to use only the apostrophe, as in CMOS’. I need help with my argument with my boss. Thank you.

Q. Good morning! I want to know, should it be “farmers’ market” or “farmers market”? I see everything out there, including “farmer’s market.” Anyway, just a seasonal curiosity for you all!

Q. In reply to the question of whether it should be “the Rangers hockey game” or “the Rangers’ hockey game,” you basically said that both are acceptable but the former is slightly preferred. I’d like to point out two things that make the former even more preferable. (1) The Rangers play more than one hockey game (and more than one per season), so you can never attend the Rangers hockey game, but only a Rangers hockey game. (2) A hockey game isn’t really a possession of the Rangers like their rink, but is rather an event (something incorporeal) that is merely highly associated with the Rangers, and whose association with the Rangers is only 50 percent (the other 50 percent of the association is with the opposing team).

Q. Should the possessive form of Los Angeles include the extra s? As a Spanish term, the city’s name is a singular noun, plural in form, but if we consider it fully anglicized, does it then count as a regular singular? Or does the plural form carry through?

Q. I’m on a team editing kids’ textbooks. One book includes a poster showing shapes (circle, square, triangle). Should this be referred to as a shapes poster? Is it an example of the genitive case 4 (at CMOS 5.20), requiring an apostrophe: shapes’ poster? If not, is it a temporary compound noun? Could it be written either way, based on personal preference? Does genitive case 7 help at all? A poster of shapes = shapes’ poster.

Q. I think there’s a contradiction in your examples of the correct use of apostrophes. CMOS 7.20 states that in the case of a place-name ending with “s,” the “s’s” formation is not used; e.g., the United States’. However, 7.17 uses Kansas’s as an example of proper usage. Is that correct?

Q. When referring to the left or right side of a vehicle, is the adjective possessive or attributive? Is the proper form “driver’s-side door” or “driver-side door”?

Q. This question has probably been asked before, but at work we are updating the human resources manual and nobody seems to know the answer. Is the apostrophe necessary in “two weeks’ notice” and “three days’ sick leave”? We will really appreciate your advice.