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Help me with possessives

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by BB Bobcat, Jul 13, 2011.

  1. BB Bobcat

    BB Bobcat Active Member

    Since I've been editing, I find that I have trouble with when to use a team name as a possessive. Feels like I see it different ways, and I'm not sure what's right, or if it's a style thing..

    Cardinals' first baseman Albert Pujols
    Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols


    Cardinals pitchers
    Cardinals' pitchers


    What say you SportsJournalists.com?
  2. airbag2929

    airbag2929 New Member

    In the two instances you show, i say no apostrophe. Look at it this way: I live in Baton Rouge and I wouldn't say LSU's first baseman John Smith, i would say LSU first baseman John Smith. So i wouldn't say Tigers' first baseman, i would say Tigers first baseman. That is how we do it at our paper. Hope that helps some.
  3. Hank_Scorpio

    Hank_Scorpio Active Member

    Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols
    Not possessive because it's a singular person.

    Cardinals' pitchers

    Possessive because the Cards own the GROUP of pitchers.

    I'm not sure if that's right. I'm sure someone else will check in to affirm or deny.
  4. Steak Snabler

    Steak Snabler Well-Known Member

    No apostrophe in either case.

    While we're on the subject, I've seen Red Sox' and White Sox' used in print. When did that become correct?
  5. Mark McGwire

    Mark McGwire Member

    No apostrophe in the first, you need the rest of the sentence to decide on the second.
  6. jlee

    jlee Active Member

    Agreed. How I interpret the rules:

    Justin Bieber met Cardinals pitchers on a plane.

    The Cardinals' pitchers have been weary since the All-Star break.

    Cardinals pitchers Dick McGee and Johnny Rocket signed baseballs after the game.
  7. trifectarich

    trifectarich Well-Known Member

    Probably at the same time the NYT decided to go with Wisc. and Tex.
  8. Mark McGwire

    Mark McGwire Member

    Just so.
  9. nck228

    nck228 Member

    Seconded. In the first and third cases, the word "Cardinals" is serving as an adjective that modifies "pitchers" (it describes what kind of pitchers they are, if that makes sense).

    In the middle example, Cardinals is serving as a possessive noun... you could write "the pitchers of the Cardinals" in its place, and it would make sense (it'd be a awkward sentence, yeah, but technically it's still grammatically correct.)
  10. Rhody31

    Rhody31 Well-Known Member

    Just remember, adjectives aren't possessives - hence it's not girls' basketball, it's girls basketball.
  11. BB Bobcat

    BB Bobcat Active Member

    So, for my idiot-proof rule, looks like it's only possessive if there's a "the" before the team?

    Or, if you can swap the name for the city (St. Louis for Cardinals) then it's not possessive.

    Those sound right?
  12. MileHigh

    MileHigh Moderator Staff Member

    Yup. I was taught to sub in the city and that's what I go by.
    Ace likes this.
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