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Where should the apostrophes be on this certificate?

(20 Posts)
neepsandtatties Sun 20-Sep-15 21:35:46

DS came home with a certificate from school. He is in a class called Tigers. The certificate was titled:

Tigers Headteachers Prize

Where should the apostrophes be? DH and I disagree.

DH thinks it should be Tigers' Headteacher's Prize.

I think it should be Tigers Headteacher's Prize (arguing that Tigers does not need an apostrophe as it is being used descriptively here)

Or is the school correct?! (after all, the Headteacher does not own the prize - my DS does!)

florentina1 Mon 21-Sep-15 08:13:44

was it a class certificate for all of the Tigers, or an individual prize?

SoupDragon Mon 21-Sep-15 08:19:11

I think there should be at least one apostrophe somewhere but I cant decide where!

commanderprimate Mon 21-Sep-15 08:25:40

Tigers headteacher's prize. Tigers is the name of the class, but here being used as an adjective modifying 'prizec'. If you put an apostrophe here it would make the head teacher belong to tigers, when presumably he or she belongs to all the classes. The prize belongs to the head teacher as they have the ability to bestow it on another, so an apostrophe showing that possessive relationship is needed.

Twowrongsdontmakearight Mon 21-Sep-15 08:27:33

I'm with your DH. If the prize is for the Tigers ie belonging to them it's Tigers' prize.

BikeRunSki Mon 21-Sep-15 08:28:35

Tigers' Headteacher's Prize

I'd say that Tigers needs a possessive apostrophe, as the prize belongs to the class. Replace "Tigers" with "Class 2" - I wouldn't say "Class 2 Headteacher's Prize", I'd say "Class 2's Headteacher's Prize".

Twowrongsdontmakearight Mon 21-Sep-15 08:29:48

Or should it be Tigers' Headteacher's prize? The prize is the Headteacher's to give, but the Head himself is the Tigers' Headteacher!

SoupDragon Mon 21-Sep-15 09:01:45

I'm going with Tigers Headteacher's Prize. I think the fact that the class is called Tigers is confusing matters. If it were, say, 1S instead, you would say 1S Headteacher's Prize.

neepsandtatties Mon 21-Sep-15 09:02:26

Only one child wins the prize each week; this week it was DS. So there are other certificates issued for the other classes - Zebras Headteachers Prize, etc.

DadDadDad Mon 21-Sep-15 11:54:48

I think everyone agrees that there should be an apostrophe in "Headteacher's", as there is only one Headteacher, so the only reason for the "s" is to create a possessive. (And to answer OP's question, possessive does not necessarily imply ownership, merely showing some sort of origination, as in when we say "John's hometown", we don't imply John owns the town).

So, is "Tigers" a possessive? I think it can be argued either way. I found it useful to think of a plural that doesn't involve adding an "s", say "geese":

A) I think saying "The Geese Headteacher's Prize" sounds fine - Geese is a noun modifying another noun (prize).

B) "Geese's Headteacher's Prize" is a bit of a mouthful, but I don't think it's wrong - using a possessive to show that the prize relates to the Geese.

Who wants to be in The Geese Class? smile

ThenLaterWhenItGotDark Thu 24-Sep-15 12:16:53

Both could be adjectival nouns so technically both are OK without an apostrophe.
I agree with pps though that it looks better certainly with one after headteacher. If you were to put one with tigers, it would be after.

lougle Thu 24-Sep-15 12:24:16


DadDadDad Thu 24-Sep-15 13:31:35

ThenLater - how can "Headteachers" be correct without an apostrophe? There's only one Headteacher.

I'd agree with you if said "Tigers Headteacher Prize" with no s and no apostrophes.

CocktailQueen Thu 24-Sep-15 13:33:23

You could argue either way for Tigers' or Tigers but I think it looks cleaner, and is certainly clear, as just the class name - no need for an apostrophe.

The HT, on the other hand, needs an apostrophe!

BathshebaDarkstone Thu 24-Sep-15 13:33:50

Tigers' Headteacher's Prize. <gavel>

DadDadDad Thu 24-Sep-15 13:46:11

Of course, we don't intelligent, informed discussion, we just need someone to bang a gavel! Thanks, for clearing that up Bathsheba. hmm

DadDadDad Thu 24-Sep-15 13:49:03

*don't need

AccioGin Thu 24-Sep-15 13:54:11

I'd say this is the Headteacher's Prize s/he has given to Tigers class- so Tigers Headteacher's Prize. I think an apostrophe after Tigers would either imply that a) the Headteacher is Head of the Tigers and that the Zebras have their own Head (like a Housemaster), or b) that it's a whole class prize- the Tigers' prize.

M4blues Thu 24-Sep-15 13:57:11

Headteacher's needs an apostrophe as there is only one HT and the prize is theirs to bestow.

With Tigers you could argue either way and personally, I think either way would be acceptable. I would not put an apostrophe in Tigers though as the possession/origin is the HT and not the Tigers.

ThenLaterWhenItGotDark Thu 24-Sep-15 16:07:05

blush Sorry, read it as headteacher, without the S.
Which would be OK, as it would be an adjectival noun in that case.

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