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Why is it usually “friend of his”, but no possessive apostrophe with “friend of Peter”?

I'm currently having hot debates with a friend of mine about which one is more natural and more grammatically correct:

  • A friend of Susan
  • A friend of Susan's

I vote for the first, but I don't have anything to prove I'm right.

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marked as duplicate by FumbleFingers, Zairja, StoneyB, Mitch, Mark Beadles Nov 4 '12 at 19:29

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

A friend of Susan’s is a double genitive, which has been a feature of English grammar for centuries, and it is the normal alternative to one of Susan’s friends. Just as most people would say a friend of mine, rather than a friend of me, so a friend of Susan’s, rather than a friend of Susan, would be the natural choice in most contexts.

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So it's not about some grammar rules but about, uhm, accents? –  zerkms Nov 4 '12 at 7:21
1  
No, it's nothing whatever to do with accents. English grammar accommodates the double genitive without difficulty, and it is not at all unusual. –  Barrie England Nov 4 '12 at 7:27

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