The question may appear like this question, however here I doubt the plurality of the second noun

What is correct, and what is the difference of

elements position

elements' positions

elements positions

element positions

1 Answer 1


Elements' position

This suggests that all of the elements are in the same position. And it is looking for the positions at includes all of the elements.

Element's position

This is a single element in one position.

Elements' positions

This is multiple elements in multiple positions.

element positions

These positions are for a single element

elements positions

These positions are for multiple elements

element position

This position is for an element.

elements position

This position is for multiple elements.

  • thank you, I forgot to add the last one (now I did), also you didn't say about elements positions (is it possible without apostrophe)
    – Ahmad
    Aug 11, 2015 at 17:44
  • 1
    No, "elements positions" would be nongrammatical. A noun in an attribute role is most often used in singular. So, it would be "element positions" (even though 'positions' is plural). Aug 11, 2015 at 17:46
  • @VictorBazarov Sorry, you said what means "element positions"? could it be equal to "elements' positions" and to mean "the positions of elements"?
    – Ahmad
    Aug 11, 2015 at 17:52
  • "Element positions" means something rather different than "elements' positions". When possessive case is used, then we mean positions that belong to elements (i.e. we have several elements, each has its own position, and we're talking about those positions). When it's "element positions", then we have multiple positions, each of them is an "element position" (whatever that might mean in the context). Not sure that it's clearer, ask a specific question, please. Aug 11, 2015 at 18:52
  • I agree with this interpretation. "element position(s)" is the same thing as "position(s)" in this context. You could even have "an element's element position". Essentially, it's a technical term. Note that the actual definition of the term might not be what you expect. Although an "element position" might be "a possible position for some element", an "array position" is instead "a position within an array". Dec 9, 2015 at 21:30

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