Welcome to Writers Talkback. If you are a new user, your account will have to be approved manually to prevent spam. Please bear with us in the meantime

Parent's evening or Parents' evening

I would say it is the latter, but whenever we have them at work it's always the former.  I'm wanting the correct grammatical term for an entry I'm working on a for a competition.  Any ideas? 




  • An evening for more than one parent, so parents'.
  • Thanks, heather.  That's what I thought, but I wanted to make sure before I sent the entry off.  I wonder why we advertise it at work as parent's evening.  
  • :) Because someone isn't very good at grammar?
  • Better let them know if they are a teacher - they are in charge of teaching children and giving a good example! They don't deserve that title if they can't use grammar correctly. We used to correct the grammar and punctuation on every missive home, and send it back, and gradually they improved.
  • I'll bet that was popular, Liz.

    An organisation I worked for hosted an annual  lunch for retired members. The display board in the reception area showing the events of the day invariably showed the event as 'Pensioner's Lunch', leading to the wry comment from a more grammatically aware member of staff to hope that the Pensioner enjoyed his/her lunch.
  • 100% agree that it's Parents' Day. Maybe it's the school secretary who isn't quite sure of the rules when she types out the letters. I'd bring it up as 'a general confusion issue that should be cleared' in a staff meeting so that the finger isn't being pointed at anyone in particular.

    It's like Mothers' Day/Mother's Day. The debate continues...
  • I'll bet that was popular, Liz.

    We took it in turns, the parents, so it wasn't just one family. It was the Head Teacher - she was in fact a fabulous Head, but useless at grammar and punctuation. But she was intelligent enough to take on board corrections and was quite cheerful about it. Sometimes people get a grammar and punctuation bypass through being poorly educated in that department at school. 
  • I was quite sure that the correct term was Parents' Day, and to be honest I am continually seeing otherwise well-educated writers getting it wrong, even though it is just a matter of applying a simple test.  That is, temporarily rewrite it as something like the Day of the Parent, or the Day of the Parents. 

     I brought up my own example of The Pensioners' lunch, quite evidently the correct form is as shown here.

    However, what about Ploughmans' Lunch?

  • You brought it up? Certainly indigestible in that form. 

    Ploughman's lunch is correct. If it was more than one man it would be ploughmen's lunch and the apostrophe would still be before the 's'. But in any case, it's quite easy to assume that it what a ploughman would have had. Singular. 
  • Tiny Nell said:

    It's like Mothers' Day/Mother's Day. The debate continues...
    I had always written Mothers' Day but recently saw Bryson's Dictionary for Writers and Editors declare that the correct term in America was Mother's Day and Mothering Sunday in the UK.  I remember my dad telling me that, originally, it was not about celebrating mothers, but it was when people living away in service would return to their mother church. 
Sign In or Register to comment.