Writers' Preferences for Possessives
- Inanimate Nouns and Objects
Although not technically incorrect, most writers prefer to avoid using an apostrophe -s with inanimate objects. Instead of saying “the hotel’s lobby," better writers prefer “the lobby of the hotel." There is no real “rule" here, except that the writer should use intuition and use what “sounds right."
- Is it a writers convention or a writers’ convention?
Plural nouns that become adjectives before another noun are called “adjectival labels" or “attributive nouns." The trick is to tell the difference between the latter and the plural possessive. So, in the heading of this section (writers convention vs. writers’ convention), it would be writers’ convention if the convention actually belonged to the writers. On the other hand, if a group of writers are attending the convention, we can omit the apostrophe.
One good rule of thumb, according to Grammar.com is “if you can insert another modifier between the -s word and whatever it modifies, you're probably dealing with a possessive. Additional modifiers will also help determine which form to use."
Everyone agreed that it was a good idea to organize a new writers’ convention.
Last month I attended a writers convention where over 100 participated.