It was professor of Botany's research and not Biology's.

Can an apostrophe be used like that? Obviously, I'm talking about the research that was conducted by the professor of Botany and not Biology

I just used this involuntary but then I'm afraid whether it's okay.

2 Answers 2


It was a professor of Botany's research is grammatical and idiomatic in conversation but stylistically somewhat awkward.

It was research by a professor of botany.

  • It was a\the botany (stressed) professor's research not biology. Commented Sep 21, 2018 at 15:46
  • 1
    Neither form places any special disambiguating emphasis on botany. You would simply add ", not biology" to the sentence I've proposed.
    – TimR
    Commented Sep 21, 2018 at 15:49
  • Just a variant. Commented Sep 21, 2018 at 15:50
  • 2
    I would mark one as colloquial/conversational and the other as neutral, suitable for formal contexts. Botany could be something much longer, a professor of engineering and applied mechanics's research or a professor of late antiquity's research. And then it goes from somewhat awkward to comical.
    – TimR
    Commented Sep 21, 2018 at 15:50
  • It was research by a botany professor and not a biology professor. [full-sentence "formality"].

  • It was research by a botany, not a biology professor. [less formal]

I would not capitalize botany and I would use it adjectivally. This is common practices.

  • botany professor
  • Latin professor
  • accounting professor
  • business ethics professor

For longer field names, we would use of: Dr. John Smith, Professor of Hermeneutics and Homiletics [formal title] or even in lower case if the professor's name is not given.

  • Both Tromano and you don't use the Article before "research" in "ït was research by/of...". Can it be explained briefly why, or should I post a new question?
    – Victor B.
    Commented Sep 21, 2018 at 17:40
  • @Rompey It is not part of the question, but this usage follows the general rule for abstract nouns. There is no reason for it here. There might be reason for in other contexts.
    – Lambie
    Commented Sep 21, 2018 at 18:01

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