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I'm studying history and as I came across a structural conundrum that I have no idea how to answer.

His successor's, Taft, Standard Oil decision suggested John D. Rockefeller's massive oil monopoly...

His successor, Taft,'s Standard Oil decision suggested John D. Rockefeller's massive oil monopoly...

The question is should I place the modifier after the noun "his successor" or should I place it before? If I place it after, the modifier will be modifying something I don't want to modify.

"His" here refers to President Theodore Roosevelt.

I know that there are alternatives to this sentence. But I am just wondering about the usage of possessive nouns (or modifiers) in this case.

Thank you!

  • 2
    It should be "The Standard Oil decision of his successor, Taft, suggested..." Don't make possessives do gymnastics. – Hot Licks Apr 9 '15 at 23:45
  • 3
    Or "His successor Taft's Standard Oil decision ..." without the commas. – Matt Gutting Apr 10 '15 at 0:37
  • Whatever else you may prefer, the comma before the apostrophe is unquestionably wrong. – DJClayworth Apr 10 '15 at 3:14
  • The comma before the apostrophe is undoubtedly a typo. – Barmar Apr 10 '15 at 22:20

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