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Minding my associate's and bachelor's
March 8, 2012 7:55 AM   Subscribe

I'm on a tight deadline and my brain is fried, so I'm turning to AskMe for help on a grammar question I should probably be able to work out with googling and Chicago, but for some reason can't:

I know that a person receives a bachelor's in English or a master's in biology. I know that the degree itself is a Master of Science, and so on.

How do I treat bachelor's and associate's degrees in the following contexts? Are these correct? (I've replaced some identifying words below, FYI)

"The state ranks second per capita among leading technology states in bachelor’s and graduate degrees granted in agriculture and farming..."


and

"Farming-related associate’s degrees awarded to male and minority students at partner institutions have increased..."

Thanks in advance, grammarians.
posted by prior to Writing & Language (12 answers total)
 
Why not "bachelor and graduate degrees" and "Farming-related associate degrees"?
posted by TheRaven at 7:59 AM on March 8, 2012 [4 favorites]


Well, for the first sentence fragment, I'd replace "bachelor's" with "undergraduate", but that may be a regional thing (I'm in Canada). The second looks fine to my eye.
posted by Sternmeyer at 8:00 AM on March 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


Since you're not referring to a single person's bachelor's or associate's degree, the apostrophe should come after the "s": bachelors' and associates'. Alternatively, TheRaven's suggestion to reword the sentence is what I generally do when I'm unsure.
posted by DrGail at 8:03 AM on March 8, 2012


I think the standard usage is "associate degree" rather than "associate's degree". The possessive form is correct for "bachelor's degrees", though.

In other words, "associate degrees" and "bachelor's degrees" are types of "undergraduate degrees"; "Master's degrees" and "doctoral degrees" are types of "graduate degrees". At least in the U.S. system.
posted by Johnny Assay at 8:03 AM on March 8, 2012


'2-year', '4-year', and '(post-)graduate' may be another way to avoid this confusion.
posted by FlyingMonkey at 8:04 AM on March 8, 2012


> Since you're not referring to a single person's bachelor's or associate's degree, the apostrophe should come after the "s"

This is not true. It is always "bachelor's degree." Chicago has "master's degree" at 8.28 of the new (16th) edition.
posted by languagehat at 8:20 AM on March 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


Thanks all. I've used TheRaven's suggestions. Interesting that it's bachelor's but associates, but I guess it makes sense.

I work at a university so there is sensitivity around undergraduate/graduate and 2-year/4-year, but thank you for those suggestions as well.
posted by prior at 8:26 AM on March 8, 2012


The National Center on Education Statistics uses "associate's degrees,"
"bachelor's degrees," "master's degrees," and "doctoral degrees."
posted by Mr.Know-it-some at 8:29 AM on March 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


"The state ranks second per capita" -- this no sense. You mean "This state ranks second in (whatever) per capita".
posted by w0mbat at 9:11 AM on March 8, 2012


"The state ranks second per capita" -- this makes no sense.
You mean "This state ranks second in (whatever) per capita".
posted by w0mbat at 9:13 AM on March 8, 2012


w0mbat, Thanks for your input, but as I said in my OP, I changed some of the text for privacy. My question was about apostrophes.
posted by prior at 9:54 AM on March 8, 2012


Just to clarify, it isn't "bachelor's but associates," it should be either "associate degrees" or "associate's degrees" with an apostrophe.
posted by limeonaire at 10:13 AM on March 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


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