I see the usage of both 'User Manual' and 'User's Manual' in daily life. I am wondering if both of them are grammatical and idiomatic? If 'User Manual' is grammatical, is 'user' used as an adjective here (rather than possessive pronoun)?

2 Answers 2


In the phrase user manual, the word user can be described as an attributive noun. The phrase is both grammatical and idiomatic.

User's manual is also both grammatical and idiomatic. Feel free to use either phrase.

  • 1
    users' and users manual are also grammatically/semantically "defensible", but they're not so common as your pair (which are about even, in "published" contexts). May 20, 2013 at 20:35
  • snail, when I was a member of the EL&U community I asked a question whose title contained within "... Jane Austen's fragment ...", but a competent speaker, such RegDwight, dropped the "'s". I'm still wondering what the reason was.
    – user114
    May 20, 2013 at 20:43
  • 1
    @Carlo I think that would work as a separate question, but make sure you include the full text: "Meaning of a Jane Austen's fragment in this letter"
    – user230
    May 20, 2013 at 21:06
  • snail, I tried asking, but @Fumble commented "possible duplicate of 'User Manual' or 'User's Manual'? The name "Jane Austen" functions as an attributive noun". Thus I deleted the question. Do you have something to add?
    – user114
    May 20, 2013 at 21:51
  • snail, thank you very much indeed. As always, your answers are clear and instructive.
    – user114
    May 20, 2013 at 22:06

It seems to me it should be Users' Manual.

Kind of like the men's room. It's plural. It's not the man's room. And it's possessive. It's not the man room or men room.

  • Welcome to Stack Exchange, Dan! This question was asked more than five years ago and already has an accepted answer, so your answer would have to be incredibly good to justify posting it. Once you have sufficient reputation, you will be able to comment on questions to add input. Please take some time to take the tour and visit the help centre. Please check out the newest questions page to answer recently asked questions.
    – Aric
    Aug 24, 2018 at 13:13
  • 6
    @Aric, the fact that this is an old question that has an accepted answer has no bearing on posting a new answer. We actually encourage that, and have a badge for doing a good job at it. We just want to avoid a new answer that duplicates what has been previously said. Dan's answer contributes a different observation, so from that perspective, it's fine. I do disagree with his conclusion, though. Men's room is plural because it is a room shared by multiple men. User's manual is singular because each user gets their own personal manual.
    – fixer1234
    Aug 24, 2018 at 17:51

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .