We recently came across the use of a possessive apostrophe in a very popular lead capture SaaS site call Icegram.
The use of a possessive apostrophe determines what the relationship of words in an English language phrase might be. In this post, we explain this in more detail. It is an error that native English speakers make frequently enough. So the question is:
Visitors, Visitor’s or Visitors’ ?
One could make a case on each of the three if there was no context.
1. visitors: Visitors is a plural noun used as an adjective. Although seldom used in English, it is seen in phrases like “visitors gallery.” What kind of gallery? A visitors gallery. This defines the type of gallery, but not whether it belongs to “visitors”.
2. visitor’s guide. If, as a singular visitor, I have a guide, then it’s a “visitor’s guide.” No plural needed because it is a guide for each individual visitor who uses it. Thus the apostrophe denotes possession.
3. researchers’ document. This document was meant to be used by researchers. Not one but many researchers. No single researcher has exclusive use of it. Therefore, a researchers’ document.
So which is correct? Context is the only thing that would answer your question. Since there is no context, there is no “correct” answer.
But, in the context of the Icegram offering, there was context!
English can be fun and entertaining once you get the hang of it. This requires practise though. You can find out more about what I do here.