Which sentence is correct? 1. Get a team's iterations 2. Get team's iterations

I think it's 2. My reasoning is: "team's iterations" is a noun group where "team's" is an adjective to the noun that is plural, and indefinite articles are not used with plural forms.

My opponents say that without the "a" article the sentence "doesn't sound natural". I believe they think that the article belongs to the "team" in this case.

  • 2
    1. is correct. You need an article -- it determines the genitive NP. "Team's" is not an adjective; it's a noun functioning as head of the genitive NP "a team's". The noun "iterations" is head of the matrix NP, so we have one NP (the genitive "a team's") functioning in the structure of another (the matrix NP "a team's iterations"). The first division of the whole NP is thus "a team's + iterations". Incidentally, are you sure it should be the genitive "a team's iterations", as opposed to "team iterations"?
    – BillJ
    Aug 17, 2017 at 17:28
  • 1
    @BillJ - I'm pretty sure that it's "team's", meaning "iterations for a given team". To provide more context, this is a technical spec(visualstudio.com/en-us/docs/integrate/api/work/iterations) for a function where you request iterations for a team by providing its name or id.
    – Leon
    Aug 17, 2017 at 18:44
  • I should also mention that my first exposure to English was at the age of 24, and your explanation is way over my head :) I'll be looking up "genitive NP" next
    – Leon
    Aug 17, 2017 at 18:45
  • @Leon as a native speaker, I don't understand much of what BillJ says either. But he's always informative :)
    – Andrew
    Aug 17, 2017 at 19:38

1 Answer 1


English singular nouns really want a determiner unless they are proper, they are being used abstractly, or they are talking about a type of X rather than an instance of X.

Get team's iterations.

This sounds like you are using "team's" like a proper noun. Like it's a person or person-like entity who is named "Team's."

Do you mean any one team? Then use a/an: "Get a team's iterations ..."

Do you mean a team you talked about earlier or expect the listener/reader to know which one? Use the: "Get the team's iterations ..."

Possessive pronouns work too: "Get my/our/your/his/her/their team's iterations ..."

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