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Should we use apostrophe s (’s) with Sunday's Supper?

For Sunday's supper, Asimov was pulling together a wine pairing ... OC Weekly

I noticed that (’s) is quite use with Sunday's Supper:

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Shouldn't we use (’s) when something belongs to someone or something? but supper doesn't belong to Sunday, does it?

I think it shouldn't be a possessive form, I think it should be Noun as Adjective. Am I right?

For Sunday supper, Asimov was pulling together a wine pairing ..

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Sunday supper means dinner on any Sunday. After church on Sundays, the family sits down to Sunday dinner.

Sunday's supper refers to that specific meal. On that Sunday, he paired wine with the food.

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In your specific context it's entirely a stylistic choice whether to use the Saxon genitive ('s).

Arguably, Sunday's supper is a slightly atypical example in this area. If it had been Sunday dinner, the apostrophe would rarely be included - but it usually would be in, say, Thursday's supper.

The reason for this is that the noun as adjective (noun adjunct, attributive noun) usage tends to be reserved for contexts where what's being referenced is something known, familiar to the speaker.

Native speakers know that Sunday dinner is a particular kind of meal, so it's actually credible to say something like I sometimes have Sunday dinner on Saturday (it'll be understood to mean a Sunday roast, regardless of the apparent "day mismatch").

But if you said I'm having Thursday supper on Friday this week, people would look at you askew. They'd have to suppose that you know exactly what you (either in general, or specifically in your meal plan for the coming week) have for supper on Thursday(s), but they wouldn't normally know what that meal might be, so it wouldn't make much sense.

  • Interesting point on how this works with Sunday but not with, say, Thursday. – J.R. Feb 19 '17 at 1:22
  • @J.R.: I should probably have clarified things a bit more. Essentially the possessive identifies a specific Sunday in OP's example, as per Willow's answer. So without 's in my final example, it's a reference to the kind of supper people in general typically have on (any) Thursday - which doesn't really work because there isn't such a thing as a "typical Thursday supper". My example would still be a bit unusual if I'd included the possessive - but at least it would make sense, given the implication that at least I have such a concept (even if my audience don't know what it is! :) – FumbleFingers Feb 19 '17 at 13:47
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You are partly correct.

Generally, a supper on Sunday may be referred to as

Sunday supper

however, the author may be using

Sunday's supper (possessive)

to emphasize the upcoming supper on Sunday.

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    or a previous Sunday -- a specific Sunday... – WRX Feb 18 '17 at 19:11
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    @WillowRex Yes, a specific Sunday, I've assumed, without additional context, he is referring to the coming Sunday. – Peter Feb 18 '17 at 19:46

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