In Honor of Mother’s Day: The Misused Possessive

I can’t recall how many arguments I’ve gotten into over the use of the possessive.  I remember belonging to an organization that insisted on calling its gender-specific confabs “mens meetings” and “womens meetings.” 

Now, whatever happened to the possessive apostrophe in these wordings, i.e., men’s meetings and women’s meetings?  I was told (by a K-12 English teacher no less) that, since these meetings didn’t belong to the men or women but were being held for them, there was no possessive required.  In other words, it wasn’t a men’s meeting but a meeting for men, so the rules of possessive didn’t apply.

Folks, I’m here to tell you it always applies.  That’s why this Sunday is called “Mother’s Day.”  My only beef would be that, since more than one mother celebrates the day, it could just as easily be “Mothers’ Day.”  Now in this case since the intent is to devote a day to each mother, I’ll drop my pluralizing objection.  But it could never, ever be “Mothers Day”!

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