I just saw this headline on the internet: "Galaxy Nexus: Android Ice Cream Sandwich guinea pig".

My knowledge in English tells me the construction is wrong because of a missing apostrophe after "sandwich", but in the website I saw it nobody seemed to point this out.

I saw a print screen of it on Reddit, by the way, but since it was a headline of an article, I assume any mistakes would have been pointed out.

Is this sentence construction wrong?

  • 1
    Unless there's some sort of possession going on (which could be metaphorical), you don't want an apostrophe in there. But they're talkign about a guinea pig for Android Ice Cream Sandwich, not a guinea pig owned by Android Ice Cream Sandwich or a guinea pig of Android Ice Cream Sandwich. So using an apostrophe would be wrong. – Peter Shor Jan 21 '15 at 17:18
  • 2
    Your cited headline is not a "sentence". As Wikipedia says, Android 4.0 "Ice Cream Sandwich" is a version of the Android mobile operating system developed by Google. What that means is "Ice Cream Sandwich" is a name (effectively therefore, a Noun Phrase = NP). In this context, it's being used adjectivally to modify another NP ("guinea pig"), so the entire text Android Ice Cream Sandwich guinea pig is an NP. Preceding it by a completely different NP ("Galaxy Nexus") doesn't result in a sentence. There's no verb. – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica Jan 21 '15 at 18:01

It depends. Are we referring to 'Android Ice Cream Sandwich' as a brand name or as a real-world project?

Let me replace 'Android Ice Cream Sandwich' with 'iPhone', and 'guinea pig' with 'experiment' to make it easier to read:

Apple announced the launch of their new iPhone experiment

Apple has a new experiment. It's not just any old experiment, it's an iPhone experiment. I'm using 'iPhone' as a brand name here.

Apple announced the launch of their new iPhone's experiment

Apple doesn't have a new experiment, Apple's new iPhone has an experiment. I'm using 'iPhone' in this sentence as a real world product, not as an adjective.


It's only "wrong" to not use possessive case if proper nouns or a noun referring to a person are involved.

The coat is John's.

This is the king's crown.

Otherwise, it does not "have" to be used. It can be clearer, or impart a "personable" quality, if you do use it, though.

This is the operating system's method of telling you there is a problem.

This is the operating system method of telling you there is a problem.

The calculator's display was broken.

The calculator display was broken.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.