Possessives and Attributives

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.

Q. For our work editing projects, we have had a long-standing debate over the wording “renters insurance” (as a concept). There seems to be no industry standard with regard to using an apostrophe. Which should it be? Renters’ insurance, renter’s insurance, renters insurance.

Q. When referring to “the corps” as in the Army Corps of Engineers or the Peace Corps, what is the proper possessive form? For example, is it “the corps’ decision” or “the corps’s decision?”

Q. How would this be punctuated correctly? “The AZ Group of Companies’, comprising ABC Machine Company, DEF Machine Company, and GHI Corporation, mission is to provide . . .” or “The AZ Group of Companies,’ comprising ABC Machine Company, DEF Machine Company, and GHI Corporation, mission is to provide . . .”? I’m writing a brochure and can’t find it anywhere online.

Q. How would you punctuate factor(s) to show both singular and plural possessive? The sentence reads “This results in the factor(s) outcome(s) being misread.”

Q. CMOS 7.17 cites “Kansas’s legislature” as an example, whereas 7.20 has “the United States’ role” as another. Am I correct to use “Paris’s sights,” “Philippines’ sights,” and “Seychelles’ sights” under 7.20? Could I also conclude that 7.17 is used mainly for states (like Kansas and Texas) in a country (like the US) and 7.20 strictly for countries?

Q. I’m wondering how you would handle a possessive of a city-and-state combination: While we were able to recast the sentence, suppose we need to express “the streets of Anytown, New York” as compactly as possible. “Anytown, New York’s, streets” puts the possessive squarely on “New York” because of the necessary comma—and you couldn’t do the logical “Anytown, New York,’s streets” as if the commas were parentheses! Or do we just bite the bullet and have an even longer sentence?

Q. Hello. I can’t find a clear answer to the question of how to form the possessive of an acronym, especially a plural one. For example, I see the use of an apostrophe without a following s used often (CBS’ programming). I think an s is appropriate in any case, including when the acronym itself is plural. Is this correct?

Q. Hello, I am copyediting an article and wish to know what the plural form of “master’s degree” is. I believe it should be “masters’ degrees,” as this would be most logical, but I would appreciate your input. All of the online forums I follow have different opinions regarding this matter, and no dictionaries provide a plural form, so I would like to clear up the matter with you. Thank you very much.

Q. Would one say, “He was a close friend of Gabriel’s” or “He was a close friend of Gabriel”? Is there a rule governing this?