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Consider the following :

  1. A friend of him came here yesterday.

  2. A friend of his came here yesterday.

My question is which one is acceptable. If both are acceptable, do they have any difference in meaning.

Hope somebody knowledgable could help ...

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Now, we have ELL up and running for questions as these. ell.stackexchange.com –  Kris Apr 17 '13 at 5:56
    
The construction is idiomatic English, the double genitive: a friend of Jim's or a friend of his. See also: eslcafe.com/grammar/nouns18.html –  Kris Apr 17 '13 at 5:59
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marked as duplicate by tchrist, Kris, Matt Эллен, Hellion, cornbread ninja 麵包忍者 Apr 17 '13 at 15:58

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1 Answer

up vote 1 down vote accepted

Only "A friend of his came here yesterday" is acceptable. The other one is grammatically incorrect, and not even illiterate native Anglophones would use it.

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Thanks for your answer ... –  Stanley Apr 17 '13 at 4:24
    
"Although in use since Chaucer’s time or before, the double genitive attracted the attention of 18th century grammarians; their disapproval did nothing to stamp it out." (dailywritingtips.com/a-friend-of-jims) What is "grammatically incorrect?" –  Kris Apr 17 '13 at 6:06
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@Kris: The form "a friend of him" is ungrammatical. We do say things "You've been a good friend to me/to him/to her/to them" & "You've been a good friend of mine/of his/of hers/theirs", but not "He's a friend of me" or "He's been a good friend of me/of him/of her/of them". Did you not notice the spelling difference? –  user21497 Apr 17 '13 at 7:15
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Why was this answer downvoted? I've never heard an English-speaker say "NOUN PHRASE... of him" in this way. It might be a stretch to call it grammatically incorrect (though his/hers are at least possessive pronouns and him/her are not), but "A friend of me/him/her" is certainly not idiomatic in any English-speaking area where I've been. –  njd Apr 17 '13 at 9:15
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@Kris It’s incorrect because it is something a native speaker would not and could not and should not generate. Just ask one. –  tchrist Apr 17 '13 at 12:41
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