I would like to know which one of these expressions is the most correct and why?

Google´s car

The car of Google

When I refer to the driverless car Google has invented.

  • 1
    You cannot ask which of two things is the most anything. The superlative degree does not apply to pairs of items; the comparative degree does. Hence, more correct of two things. So one might posit that one version is more correct than the other, but never most correct. In any event, you left out a third possibility, one that @EdwinAshworth proposes: using Google as an attributive noun. That would give you now 3 possibilities, and so you could retain most. However, one risks treading on ice so thin as to be hallucinatory when one poses a false dilemma of correctness in language. – tchrist Apr 5 '14 at 14:38
  • +1 for the modifier in the idiom. I'm going to pinch it. – Edwin Ashworth Apr 5 '14 at 14:42

They are both correct, but most people would say Google's car in everyday speech.

This is usually used with particular things which are possessed by named people/companies/countries etc

John's car
Anne's job
Britain's coast
America's mountains

Thus: "Let's go in John's car" but never "Let's go in the car of John."

However, you could use it for emphasis: "This car of John's is going to cost him a fortune."

The of construction is used in more general terms.

The climate of the world is changing

There are also various traditional/historic uses:

The Tower of London
The Leaning Tower of Pisa
The soup of the day

But basically they are both correct and you will be understood whichever you use.


The example "This car of John's..." is incorrect (see Janus comment).

A better example might be:

All the parents were invited to the school play, even the father of John and Anne, although he had been banned from attending on previous occasions

This avoids the difficulty, which confuses lots of people, of whether to say:

John's and Anne's father or John and Anne's father

  • Note that what you call ‘emphasis’ is really a completely different construction: it is using of as a partitive marker on what is already a possessive (Saxon or pronominal). – Janus Bahs Jacquet Apr 5 '14 at 12:02
  • You're quite right, I didn't think it through :( Can you think of any instance where you would say 'car of John'? – Mynamite Apr 5 '14 at 12:08
  • Nope, none at all, because the of genitive is not used to denote literal possession/ownership with human referents. :-) – Janus Bahs Jacquet Apr 5 '14 at 12:23
  • @Janus : Not normally, but it's sometimes used as a rhetorical device, notably in book, song or film titles: Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia, The Eyes of a Child, The Island of Doctor Moreau, etc. – Terpsichore Apr 5 '14 at 13:01
  • 1
    The elephant in this room is that corporate names tend to be used as attributive nouns: a Ford sedan, an Audi wagon, a Tesla roadster. Neither the apostrophe-s clitic using Y’s X nor the of preposition form X of Y makes half so much sense in these cases (no pun intended) as does simply saying the Y X. It’s just the Google car, that’s all. Short, sweet, simple. If you want to talk about actual ownership, further convolutions will be required. – tchrist Apr 5 '14 at 14:43

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