English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I'm a bit confused if I can use adjective after a noun with apostrophe s.

I broke Jim's fragile figure.
I broke fragile figure of Jim.

For example, which of these two sentences is correct?

share|improve this question

closed as general reference by tchrist, Cameron, MετάEd, Kris, Andrew Leach Sep 9 '12 at 10:00

This question is too basic; it can be definitively and permanently answered by a single link to a standard internet reference source designed specifically to find that type of information.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

Without other context, I would interpret "Jim's fragile figure" to mean a figure owned by Jim, while "the fragile figure of Jim" would be interpreted as "a figure in the likeness of Jim" Both are correct grammatically (with the 'the' of course) it just depends on which meaning you intend. – Jim Sep 8 '12 at 22:25
Not so much of a question. This construct is used all the time and can be seen often. – Kris Sep 9 '12 at 7:07
up vote 3 down vote accepted

Yes, you can use an adjective after a possessive noun. The item that belongs to the noun with the "apostrophe s" needn't be the very next word. For example, I could say that:

My day was worse than Alexander's terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

and it would be obvious that the 's at the end of Alexander's referred to day, not to terrible.

So, as Jim said in his comment, there's nothing wrong with:

I broke Jim's fragile figure.

although maybe you should be more careful with his fragile stuff from now on ;^)

share|improve this answer

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.