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  1. Unregistered

    Question "Visitors Guide", "Visitor's Guide" or "Visitors' Guide" ?

    When writing a guidebook to be used by someone visiting a location, how would you phrase the title?

    "Visitors Guide" (simple plural, i.e. this is a guide and there are multiple visitors to the location)
    "Visitor's Guide" (possessive singular, i.e. one visitor owns/uses the guide at a time)
    "Visitors' Guide" (possessive plural, i.e. a guide that is owned/used by multiple visitors)

    This has been confusing me for a while as the usage seems roughly equal in books listed on the net and it is not mentioned in any grammar sites that I've found so far.

    Many thanks for any help,

    Andre Willey

    • Join Date: Nov 2007
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    Re: "Visitors Guide", "Visitor's Guide" or "Visitors' Guide" ?

    You can have 'a Nepalese guide' - he's not from Tibet.

    You can have 'a student guide' - he's a student at Oxford, not a don.
    compare "A Studentís Guide to Oxford" - a survival manual intended for a new student at Oxford.

    Visitors Guide: somehow, 'visitors' is an adjective, denoting what it is a guide to. Something akin to birdwatching? Recognize the nationality of tourists in London, and how they can be spotted by their choice of clothing or how many cameras they have round their neck.

    A Visitorís Guide is a guide intended for the use of a visitor to a place.

    • Join Date: Mar 2009
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    Re: "Visitors Guide", "Visitor's Guide" or "Visitors' Guide" ?

    Then I fancy it should be

    "A Visitor's Guide" or "Visitors' Guide", right?? Mr. L?

  2. Soup's Avatar
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    English Teacher
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    Re: "Visitors Guide", "Visitor's Guide" or "Visitors' Guide" ?

    Andre, all 3 are possible. Which meaning are you looking for?

    A. visitors guide (a kind of guide; adjective)
    B. visitor's guide (his/her guide; possessive singular noun)
    C. visitors' guide (their guide; possessive plural noun)

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    Re: "Visitors Guide", "Visitor's Guide" or "Visitors' Guide" ?

    There is a difference between the fact that many, MANY visitors buy the guide; and the fact that the title of the guide would be addressed to the individual who is, would be termed, regards himself/herself as a 'visitor'. Each person(visitor) buys his own individual copy of the guide. Hence,

    A Visitor's Guide to Britain
    The Visitor's Guide to Norfolk (perhaps you can get away with that, legally, if the guide is put out by the official Norfolk Tourist Information Service.)

    A/the visitors' guide would be an experienced individual who personally conducts a party of tourists (visitors) around a site or place. As such, it is tautological: that's what a guide does!!!!!! So - who would bother saying that! He/she is just termed 'the guide'.
    Last edited by David L.; 13-Mar-2009 at 16:16.

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    Re: "Visitors Guide", "Visitor's Guide" or "Visitors' Guide" ?

    Thanks for the information. I was trying to clarify in my own mind how I should subtitle a website that I run. It is an unofficial guide website for people planning to stay at a particular Disney hotel in Florida, and the subheading, as I use it as present, is "An Unofficial Vistor's Guide to <hotelname>". I used the apostrophe in that way on the basis that only one visitor would be reading the site at a time; there wouldn't be a whole group of people looking at the screen at once. However every time I look at it, it feels wrong for some reason - see for the context.


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    Re: "Visitors Guide", "Visitor's Guide" or "Visitors' Guide" ?

    In statistics, there's the 'tyranny of numbers', as when a poll shows that X candidate has 48% of the vote, and Y has 51%...and people think/say that Y is ahead in the polls/winning, when the error of measurement means that the two figures are not, statistically, significantly different.

    Perhaps it's mass marketing, seeing people as just 'bums on seats', pack 'em in folks, that we speak so expansively and carelessly about "all of them' when really we are dealing with individuals (present company excepted, as the placement of your apostrophe demonstrates in your website).

    Yes - the intention of your website is to attract many MANY visitors...but each one is an 'individual', including all the the 'individual', 'single' travellers, such as I. You are addressing people individually.

    The subjective pull is great, and I guess this will be another casualty and it will become "visitors' guide".
    Your choice: speak to the person (there's only one person hunched over the computer screen at a time; or go with the ethos of world domination, addressing a blurred throng like a Hitler at Nuremburg; and hauling people in like some netload of mere prawns, and see only some blurred, milling, flock of sheep out there which won't even notice the apostrophe and...
    Not that I have a strong opinion either way or want to influence your ultimate decision.
    Last edited by David L.; 13-Mar-2009 at 22:18.


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