The English language is full of challenging spelling & grammar rules. Some of the most difficult rules involve when to use punctuation. Just like we saw with our analysis of when to place an apostrophe after S, using apostrophes can be tricky. In this article, we will break down the difference between the phrases “doctor’s appointment” vs “doctor appointment” to determine which spelling is correct!
Which Is Right: Doctor’s Appointment or Doctors Appointment?
There are only two correct answers. It is grammatically correct to say one of two phrases:
- Doctor’s Appointment
- Doctor Appointment
Both are used to refer to an appointment with a doctor. Just like with the word lots vs lot’s, the apostrophe is used for a specific purpose.
The apostrophe “-S” is not used in the traditional possessive case. You are not trying to say the doctor owns the appointment. It is used to indicate an association in the descriptive genitive case. In other words, these types of appointments are associated with doctors.
In the phrase “doctor appointment”, the word “doctor” is used as an attributive noun to describe the type of appointment. Just like we saw with the words is or are, similar words can often have totally different meanings!
Here are some ways you can use the phrase “doctor’s appointment” in your writing. After studying the popular phrases lose or loose weight, it is clear that spelling is very important!
- I have a doctor’s appointment at 2:00pm in the next town.
- My doctor’s appointment was postponed due to the snowstorm.
- I need to reschedule my doctor’s appointment because I have a conflict. I have a family party to attend that I can’t miss!
- My doctor’s appointment went well, and I received a clean bill of health.
- I made a list of questions to ask during my doctor’s appointment this afternoon.
Just like we saw in our comparison of what vs which, small spelling changes can totally change a sentence!
Which Is More Popular?
After reviewing these phrases on Google’s ngram data it is clear that “doctor’s appointment” is more popular! And it is easy to see why. The phrase “doctors appointment” is grammatically incorrect in most contexts.
However, just like we saw with the words Freshman vs Freshmen, vocabulary changes over time. As the decades pass, culture changes and so does the way in which we read, write, and speak!
Just be sure you know the difference between vocabulary vs grammar! These two writing terms are equally important but are commonly confused.
Many new writers get confused when trying to understand how to use apostrophes correctly in their writing. In reality, there are only a few basic use cases that you need to understand.
Apostrophes are mainly used to show possession or to indicate letters have been left out of a contraction. Consider these rules:
- Possession – “The doctor’s car”. In this example, the apostrophe -S shows that the (noun) doctor owns the car.
- Plural Nouns Ending in “S” – “The doctors’ car.” Just like in the previous example, this indicates the doctor owns the car.
- Singular Nouns That Do NOT Rnd in “S” – “The woman’s hat.” In this example, the word “woman” ends in the letter N. By adding an apostrophe “-S” you can indicate that she has ownership of the hat.
- Creating Contractions – “Don’t”. Most writers know that “Don’t” stands for “Do Not”. The apostrophe allows a writer to create a shorter and more informal word, “Don’t”.
Frequently Asked Questions
You could say “Sorry I am late, I just came from a doctor appointment on the other side of town.” You could also use the phrase “doctor’s appointment” as well. This rule is also true for other types of medical appointments such as “dentist’s appointment” or “dentist appointment”.
A doctor’s appointment means that a person has an appointment with the doctor. There are many types of appointments like dentist’s appointment, eye doctor appointment, and much more.
You could simply say “I have a doctor’s appointment” or “I have an appointment with the doctor.”
The plural of “doctors appointment” is “doctors’ appointments”. You might say “I have 3 different doctors’ appointments over the next week!”
The Bottom Line
The point of this article is not to be a grammar Nazi. And this certainly is not the most important spelling & grammar rule in the English language. But for those who are interested, you now know that Doctor’s appointment or Doctor appointment are the correct answers. The apostrophe -S shows the doctor’s association with that type of appointments. If you need some extra help with this spelling rule, consider using our grammar and punctuation check FREE online tool!