Wordwatch Towers

A plain language guide to punctuation, grammar and writing well.

Clothes cupboard

with 3 comments

A clothes line with some pegs (clothespins) ne...
Image via Wikipedia

A number of googlers have been landing here over the past day or so trying to find out if there is a possessive apostrophe in ‘clothes cupboard’. Interesting!

Well, I’d say no. I think it’s safe to see ‘clothes cupboard’ as a compound noun.  A compound noun is a noun made up of more than one word. There are related compound nouns such as ‘clothes peg’, ‘clothes line’ and ‘clothes horse’. Possessive apostrophes are not needed in compound nouns.

Find more user-friendly guides to punctuation


3 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. I would have commented sooner, but I was taking the laundry from the clothes’ dryer. Uggg.

    Michael Farrell

    06/02/2010 at 3:17 pm

  2. To clarify my comment, I agree that it doesn’t need an apostrophe but adding one is not wildly wrong. But if that’s how you come out, why not use the better form? The apostrophe also leads the speaker into awkward sibilance when trying to pronounce the possessive.

    Michael Farrell

    06/02/2010 at 6:02 pm

    • I agree absolutely: just treating it as a compound noun is the best option. Thanks, Michael.


      06/02/2010 at 6:16 pm

Your questions and comments are welcome.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: