Rename Wine User Guide to Wine User's Guide?

Andreas Mohr andi at
Thu Oct 14 12:18:57 CDT 2004


On Thu, Oct 14, 2004 at 09:18:23AM -0700, Kenneth Porter wrote:
> --On Thursday, October 14, 2004 11:00 AM -0400 Kuba Ober 
> <kuba at> wrote:
> >Actually, the apostrophe looks quite right there. Whose guide is it? The
> >user's. Then one has user's guide, not user guide.
> Would it not be "Users' Guide"? A guide for *all* users? (Plural)
> OTOH, I just plugged "users guide" into Amazon and the results on the 
> first page are all "User's Guide" (singular).

is quite interesting here.

Although I don't grok their (last posting) explanation about "for" user
vs. "of" user:
i.e. I don't buy the implied statement that User's Guide means "a guide
of the user" (i.e. describing the user) -- I rather think its usual meaning
is "the user's guide", thus a simple genitive.

While initially I wanted to follow the "most simple solution" suggestion
of the last posting to drop the apostrophe, I now think that
"Wine User Guide" sounds too much like "a Guide about the Wine User",
so I'd still use "(the) Wine User's Guide". Grammatically it's IMHO
the most correct one, i.e. expressing the intention of the Guide,
to be *for* the user, most clearly.

Oh, and I like Wine Users' Guide less, since that single user reading
the docu to cure his massive Wine problems at this moment really
doesn't care about all the other users probably using Wine ;-)

Now I came up with an even more convincing aspect:
If you think of Manual vs. Guide, then you'd most likely expect it
to be worded "User Manual" and "User's Guide" (well, at least *I* would
expect it).


Because it's a Guide *for* the User which is thus guiding whom? The user.
So in the Manual case we have only *one* reason for apostrophe (possessive),
whereas in the Guide case we have *two* reasons: both possessive *and*
Or, in other words, a Guide is more tightly coupled to the User than a
Manual, so an apostrophe is quite appropriate here to express that closer

is more interesting than the other thread above, since it has this little gem:
As a Senior Technical Writer who writes user's guides
all day long, I use user's guide.  I do this because
the Microsoft Manual of Style lists User's Guide in
its Titles of Books topic.
This recommendation might just be because of my reasoning above...

And then there are:

In closing, I'd like to say that I like User's Guide by far the most,
but I'm certainly not authoritative on that one ;-)

We could add a blurb about why the User* Guide is named in a certain way
in the intro section, too ;-)) (just joking)

Andreas Mohr

P.S.: God, so much time wasted to prove writing of such a minor point ;-)

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