Dear Rachel,

Would you please tell me which of the following
expressions is correct?

1- The ship arrival.

2- The ship's arrival.

Please tell me why?

*** By the way , it's said that with word
" ship " the two above ways is possible to
express possessive . Do you agree?

I'm waiting for your kind reply / explanation.

Thank you very much.

Original Post
1- The ship arrival.
2- The ship's arrival.

You can use the phrase 'the ship's arrival.' or 'the arrival of the ship.' or Both of these phrases are correct.

The ship arrival is not correct.


First, for most inanimate things, we usually use the 'of-phrase' to express possession. So, we say 'the leaves of the trees' and 'the name of the restaurant.'

It would be possible to use many of these phrases with the apostrophe -S to indicate possession: 'the trees' leaves' and 'the restaurant's name.' It would not sound natural to say the tree leaves or the restaurant name..

On the other hand, not all phrases can be formed with the apostrophe for possession. For example, we can say, 'the legs of the table' and 'the table legs,' but usually not the table's legs. We can say, 'the floor of the kitchen' and 'the kitchen floor,' but not usually the kitchen's floor.

There are loose rules for the formation of these phrases, but it is fair to say that each phrase has to be learned individually.

In the case of the words 'arrival' and 'departure,' we more frequently use the apostrophe -S form, or the 'of' form. So we would say:

Flight 122's departure was late.
The departure of Flight 122 was delayed.

We awaited the ship's arrival.
We awaited the arrival of the ship.

The New York Times has many examples of both ‘the ship’s arrival’ and ‘the arrival of the ship.’ The more modern sentences are ‘the ship’s arrival,’ like these examples:

• The Police Department has planned a range of special security measures for the ship’s arrival, Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly said yesterday. ...

• The ship’s arrival on Saturday marked the end of a yearlong round of experiments paid for mostly by the National Science Foundation, with support from the ...

I found many examples of ‘the ship’s arrival’ in commercial-appearing documents on Google:

• Under agency on trip basis, the Entrusting Party should remit in full the amount for ship's disbursement as estimated by the Branch at the port(s) of call so early as to ensure its receipt before ship’s arrival.

• ... Suez Canal in March said Thursday that the ship’s arrival at the wrong time was a ... “The Global Patriot's arrival ahead of schedule was a significant ...

• RMC/Contractor shipchecks take place upon ship’s arrival. ... Schedule Restrictions. Ships in VR should support the work week schedule provided by local ... -

Please see this previous discussion on the Grammar Exchange:

In answer to your question, Sayed, ‘the ship’s arrival’ is the correct phrase. You could also use ‘the arrival of the ship.’
Dear Rachel,

Many thanks for your kind help and very excellent explanation. But I still need your
comment on the following :

- You said that " the ship arrival " is wrong !

* Well ! You know that both " ship " and " arrival " are nouns .

** There is a grammatical rule says :

" We often use two nouns togther ( noun + noun )
to mean one thing/person/idea etc . The first
noun is like an adjective - it tell us what kind
of thing/person/idea etc."
For example :
- a tennis ball - a bank manager
- a road accident - income tax
- the city centre - a television camera

Frankly, on basis the above mentioned rule and
examples , I thought that " the ship arrival "
is correct. Don't you agree ?

I hope for your kind opinion and explanation.

Thank you very much.

Many times phrases with one noun becoming an adjective are formed, as in the examples you've shown. In fact, this is very common.

However, there are some exceptions, as I noted in my posting above, and also an explanation in the link.

Although you might see or hear 'ship arrival' from time to time, the most usual is 'ship's arrival,' and the second most usual is 'the arrival of the ship.'

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