Today my daughter and I were listening to directions in a children's course where the speaker said something like "[in the] student book"; I was not really sure about "in the" part. My daughter said the meaning of which "this is wrong! He should have said: ... the student's book". I didn't know what to say but this is okay.

I heard both but the problem is I don't know if there's any rule or it's arbitrary! This question was in mind long time ago but it's now or never.

By the way, what I am sure about is that the student's book has this phrase on the front cover "Student Book". So it's not plural just in case you might say what the speaker actually says is "in the students' book". It's a possibility but I really doubt it. It's very unlikely especially when I hear both "... the student book" and "... the student's book"

Could anyone enlighten me please?


Interested people could read this article: Happy "Veterans' Day," "Veteran's Day," or "Veterans Day"? Possessives vs. Attributive Nouns

Or this: Possessive Forms

  • 1
    FYI, one of my grammar books is Students' English Grammar by Jake Allsop. :-) Commented Jan 19, 2014 at 17:01
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    I think in "Student Book" student is an adjective and I think its better to say "Student Book" if we are speaking generally about books that are designed for students.
    – user3214
    Commented Jan 19, 2014 at 17:05
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    Strictly speaking, it's called attributive nouns not attributive adjectives
    – learner
    Commented Jan 19, 2014 at 18:36
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    cf. the abridged version of LGSWE is called the Longman Student Grammar of Spoken and Written English.
    – Alex B.
    Commented Jan 19, 2014 at 19:27
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    The student's book is a book which belongs to the student. The student book may be either a book about/intended for the specific student or a book about/intended for students generally. Commented Jan 19, 2014 at 19:34

1 Answer 1


"student's book" , a book that belongs to a student.

"student book" ,a book that is written for students and that group of

students can use it.

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