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Possessives and Attributives
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?
A. Sometimes an attributive becomes conventional in the singular (toy store), and sometimes in the plural (ladies room). Often we choose by ear and it doesn’t matter (employee lounge, employees lounge). But “refreshments” connotes something slightly different from “refreshment,” and if you check a dictionary, you’ll find that the plural is best suited for your signs.