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I work for the University of Southern California's USC Games department.

How would I indicate possessive ownership of items belonging to that department.

Is

USC Games' student developers

correct? (Especially according to AP Style)

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  • The AP style rule is quite clear on this point. From The Associated Press Stylebook (2002): "possessives ... NOUNS PLURAL IN FORM, SINGULAR IN MEANING: Add only an apostrophe: mathematics' rules, measles' effects. ... Apply the same principle when a plural word occurs in the formal name of a singular entity: General Motors' profits, the United States' wealth. – Sven Yargs Sep 22 '16 at 19:42
  • How about knowing when to use "a" versus "an"? :) – Barmar Sep 23 '16 at 15:36
  • To introduce "USC," we would use an, because we begin pronouncing the initialism by pronouncing the name of the letter U, which begins with a vowel sound: using IPA, /yu/. – Jim Reynolds Oct 24 '16 at 7:18
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USC Games' student developers

is a perfectly grammatical and standard phrase, conforming to AP style guidelines.

USC Games appears to be the name of a program at USC. It is also written USCGames on their own website: http://games.usc.edu/

The standard quoted by Sven Yargs in his comment is indeed clear on this point:

From The Associated Press Stylebook (2002): "possessives ... NOUNS PLURAL IN FORM, SINGULAR IN MEANING: Add only an apostrophe: mathematics' rules, measles' effects. ... Apply the same principle when a plural word occurs in the formal name of a singular entity: General Motors' profits, the United States' wealth.

-- Pluralization of an Plural Proper Noun (Organization)

Extracting directly from that statement, we get USCGames' student developers or USC Games' student developers.

Another example:

According to the U.S. State Department's International Religious Freedom Report for 2012, in Turkey there are 90,000 Armenian Orthodox . . ..

Source information:

Date 2015 Publication information Winter2015, Vol. 50 Issue 1, p167-173. 7p. Title THE IMPORTANCE OF DIALOGUE IN TURKEY Author Cetinkaya, Kenan; Source ACAD: Journal of Ecumenical Studies

Search result on State Department 's in the Corpus of Contemporary American English: http://corpus.byu.edu/coca/

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Include the "department": "The USC Games Department's student developers."

"Games," in this case, is being used as an adjective (describing the kind of "department"), and not as a plural noun.

It is the Department -- specifically, the Games Department-- which possesses student developers, not the "Games".

  • No, the brand name is literally USC Games. It isn't just the name of the department. The actual department is the Interactive Media and Games Division. USC Games is a brand (like Kelloggs) Games.usc.edu – NappyXIII Sep 22 '16 at 3:20
  • There is no basis for suggesting inclusion of the whole name of the department. This is like suggesting that someone say The United States of America instead of The US or America. These are often open choices, and when one or the other is preferred depends primarily or most often on the context of the communicative situation. – Jim Reynolds Oct 24 '16 at 7:24

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