Is there a genitive form of the word this in English?

For example:

  • The color of it -> Its color
  • The color of this -> ?
  • How about its color? – Robusto Mar 5 '15 at 13:31
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    You can't directly attach the genitive 's to create this's, so you need to incorporate a full-blown [pro]noun. "This rose's colour is red", "This one's colour is blue", etc. – FumbleFingers Mar 5 '15 at 13:51
  • After mulling this over for a while, I believe the best thing to do in such a case is just to use its anyway. "What is the color of this?" -> "What is its color"? This is what native speakers do all the time. – Robusto Mar 5 '15 at 14:20

This, that, etc. are demonstrative pronouns and thus don't have genitive forms. The genitive case would be attached to the noun that you are demonstrating, e.g. "This thing's colour."

That isn't to say it wouldn't make sense to have genitive forms of demonstrative pronouns - their usage would be fairly niche - just they're not currently a feature of the English language.

  • 4
    We'll see if we can get it in the English 2.0 spec. – Robusto Mar 5 '15 at 15:24
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    The Academy is working on that. We expect a beta version in about 400 years or so. – John Lawler Mar 5 '15 at 16:09

No. In The Syntactic Phenomena of English, McCawley uses this fact to construct examples illustrating his proposal that the purpose of syntactic transformations is to fit logical forms into the surface requirements of English, one of which is that all the words must be permitted by the English morphological system. If you find yourself wanting to say "this's", you just have to find a different way to say it.

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