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.

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3 Responses

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  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.

      Deborah

      06/02/2010 at 6:16 pm


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