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  1. stuartnz's Avatar
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    #1

    Possessive apostrophe?

    A nurse I work with as a study partner/part-time tutor is currently working on an assingment. We had cobbled together a rough draft which she got her lecturer to review. One of the corrections that came back has me a little puzzled. The lecturer wants this:


    The Hawthorne study showed the importance of the participants feeling a personal identification and sense of shared community with the person providing the education

    to be changed to

    The Hawthorne study showed the importance of the participants' feeling a personal identification and sense of shared community with the person providing the education

    Since I am not a professional teacher, I'm not in a position to dispute this, but I would like to understand why an apostrophe is called for in this situation. Thanks.


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    #2

    Re: Possessive apostrophe?

    The Thornehaw study showed the importance of his feeling a sense of personal mastery...

    The possessive case is used before a gerund (verbal noun) and hence:

    The Hawthorne study showed the importance of the participants' feeling a personal identification...

    It did not show the importance of all these participants - (that they were VIPS !)
    it was their 'feeling a personal identification..." that was important

  2. stuartnz's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Possessive apostrophe?

    Quote Originally Posted by David L. View Post
    The Thornehaw study showed the importance of his feeling a sense of personal mastery...

    The possessive case is used before a gerund (verbal noun) and hence:

    The Hawthorne study showed the importance of the participants' feeling a personal identification...

    It did not show the importance of all these participants - (that they were VIPS !)
    it was their 'feeling a personal identification..."

    Thanks! That makes it very clear.


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    #4

    Re: Possessive apostrophe?

    Quote Originally Posted by stuartnz View Post
    A nurse I work with as a study partner/part-time tutor is currently working on an assingment. We had cobbled together a rough draft which she got her lecturer to review. One of the corrections that came back has me a little puzzled. The lecturer wants this:


    The Hawthorne study showed the importance of the participants feeling a personal identification and sense of shared community with the person providing the education

    to be changed to

    The Hawthorne study showed the importance of the participants' feeling a personal identification and sense of shared community with the person providing the education

    Since I am not a professional teacher, I'm not in a position to dispute this, but I would like to understand why an apostrophe is called for in this situation. Thanks.
    Me too, Stuart. Here's my take.

    In 1. 'feeling' is a verb.

    1. The Hawthorne study showed the importance of the participants feeling a personal identification and sense of shared community with the person providing the education

    For an apostrophe wouldn't we need something like the following;

    2. The Hawthorne study showed the importance of the participants' feelings, which showed a personal identification and sense of ...

    If we had 2. with an apostrophe, but not the relative pronoun, 'which + showed' as in,

    2a. The Hawthorne study showed the importance of the participants' feelings a personal identification and sense of shared community with the person providing the education.

    the sentence would not be grammatical. Why? Because the switch to a possessive has changed 'feelings' into a noun.

  3. stuartnz's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: Possessive apostrophe?

    Quote Originally Posted by riverkid View Post
    Me too, Stuart. Here's my take.

    In 1. 'feeling' is a verb.

    1. The Hawthorne study showed the importance of the participants feeling a personal identification and sense of shared community with the person providing the education
    That was how I read it. In fact, that was how I wrote it.

    I can see David's point, and I guess that's how the lecturer wants it to read. Since she is the one marking it, and it's not my assignment, I am happy to comply.

    Just out of interest, how could I have worded it more clearly to get across the point that, as you say, "feeling" here is a verb, not a noun?

  4. stuartnz's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: Possessive apostrophe?

    Would this be better:

    "The Hawthorne study showed how important it is for the participants to feel a personal identification and sense of shared community"?


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    #7

    Re: Possessive apostrophe?

    The trouble is, that wording causes a shift in meaning:
    the Hawthorne studies showed that (you need to get the participants) to feel a sense of shared community if you want to observe the Hawthorne Effect.

    Rather, it is because those factors are present that you get the Hawthorne Effect.


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    #8

    Re: Possessive apostrophe?

    Quote Originally Posted by stuartnz View Post

    That was how I read it. In fact, that was how I wrote it.

    I can see David's point, and I guess that's how the lecturer wants it to read. Since she is the one marking it, and it's not my assignment, I am happy to comply.

    Just out of interest, how could I have worded it more clearly to get across the point that, as you say, "feeling" here is a verb, not a noun?
    Am I missing something here? That's a real question. I'm not being the least bit facetious.

    I don't see how or why anything needs to be changed to get across the point that 'feeling' is a verb. It just is.

    So, I don't see any way, any way at all, Stuart, that the teacher can change what is a verb into a noun without making other material changes to the sentence.

    Simply adding an apostrophe creates an ungrammatical sentence, does it not? As soon as an apostrophe is added, is it not requisite that an 's' is added to 'feeling'?

    *The Hawthorne study showed the importance of the participants' feelings a personal identification and sense of shared community with the person providing the education.*

    [* denotes ungrammatical]



    Quote Originally Posted by stuartnz View Post
    Would this be better:

    "The Hawthorne study showed how important it is for the participants to feel a personal identification and sense of shared community"?
    ORIGINAL
    The Hawthorne study showed the importance of the participants feeling a personal identification and sense of shared community with the person providing the education.

    I don't think that either is better. They seem the same to me.

  5. stuartnz's Avatar
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    #9

    Re: Possessive apostrophe?

    Quote Originally Posted by David L. View Post
    The trouble is, that wording causes a shift in meaning:
    the Hawthorne studies showed that (you need to get the participants) to feel a sense of shared community if you want to observe the Hawthorne Effect.

    Rather, it is because those factors are present that you get the Hawthorne Effect.

    Now I am getting a little more confused. To give some context,we looked at three studies of diabetes education among South Asians. In two of them, response rates were low. In one, led by Dr Hawthorne, response rates were high. The thing which made the difference was the sense of shared community, because the person providing the translation and education was not merely someone who spoke the language, but was actually a member of that community.

    The sentence the lecturer wants changed is really trying to make the point that, as you worded it, "the Hawthorne studies showed that (you need to get the participants) to feel a sense of shared community if you want to observe the Hawthorne Effect." It is part of a paragraphthat outlines ways in which the studies we examined could be used as models for a similar study locally. In this example, the "Hawthorne effect", as you call it, is a high response rate and active participation in the study, which is a desired outcome, and the assignment written shows that it can only be achieved if the participants feel that sense of shared community. If they don't feel that way, they won't respond as well. That was the thought we were trying to put across.
    Last edited by stuartnz; 16-Jul-2008 at 01:19.

  6. stuartnz's Avatar
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    #10

    Re: Possessive apostrophe?

    Quote Originally Posted by riverkid View Post
    Am I missing something here? That's a real question. I'm not being the least bit facetious.

    I don't see how or why anything needs to be changed to get across the point that 'feeling' is a verb. It just is.

    So, I don't see any way, any way at all, Stuart, that the teacher can change what is a verb into a noun without making other material changes to the sentence.

    Simply adding an apostrophe creates an ungrammatical sentence, does it not? As soon as an apostrophe is added, is it not requisite that an 's' is added to 'feeling'?

    *The Hawthorne study showed the importance of the participants' feelings a personal identification and sense of shared community with the person providing the education.*

    [* denotes ungrammatical]





    ORIGINAL
    The Hawthorne study showed the importance of the participants feeling a personal identification and sense of shared community with the person providing the education.

    I don't think that either is better. They seem the same to me.

    I appreciate you taking the time to spell it out for me, riverkid. It is gratifying to know that I did not write the original sentence incorrectly or poorly. I guess I am just trying to find a way to make the intended meaning clear for the lecturer, who seems to have missed the point. This is not the first time she has flagged as suspect a grammatically correct construction. In the end, she's the one marking it, so I'm not going to insist on my "right" (pun intended) at the risk of my friends' final score.

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