Naming a Club

October 18, 2013

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The parents in your child's soccer league are forming a club. They've picked you as secretary. The club has asked you to choose a name, and you’ve decided on "Riverside Soccer Parents Association." But how do you punctuate it? The third word might be Parents', Parents, or Parent's. Which one will you use? 
 
  • "Riverside Soccer Parents Association" would be perfectly justifiable. It's a noun stack. Interpreted in the same way as any other noun stack, it refers to an association of soccer parents in Riverside. 
  • "Riverside Soccer Parents' Association" is equally valid. Parents' is a plural possessive, meaning of the parents. This phrase works out to mean an association belonging to soccer parents in Riverside. 
  • "Riverside Soccer Parent's Association" may look a little off the mark, since it seems to imply that there is only one parent involved. However, the parent could be a generic parent. If you are a soccer parent in Riverside, this association is for you. 
  • You could even use the name "Riverside Soccer Parent Association". That's a noun stack, again. When a noun is used attributively, the singular can have a plural meaning. A car dealer doesn't sell just one car. A stamp collection usually has more than one stamp. 
 
All four paradigms show up in actual practice. For example, there are organizations called Woman's Christian Temperance Union (singular possessive), National Woman Suffrage Association (singular nominative), General Federation of Women's Clubs (plural possessive), and Black Women Physicians Institute (plural nominative). 
 
In the end, the choice is yours. When all the options are correct, just choose the one you like the best!
 

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