If my subject is "the side in question", is it OK to ask, "Do you have the side in question's cell phone number?" or "What are the side in question's intentions?"

I hope someone can help clarify this for me. I really appreciate it.

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    You can sometimes use a possessive with a multi-word possessor, but I'm having trouble understanding your sentence. Who is the "the side in question"? I'm not familiar with the use of "side" to refer to a person. – herisson Apr 13 '15 at 1:33
  • possible duplicate of What is the possessive of "you guys"? – Hellion Apr 13 '15 at 2:59
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    (the answer is yes, using "the side in question's" is perfectly normal, at least in regular conversation.) – Hellion Apr 13 '15 at 3:01
  • There are a few guidelines as to when one can use the apostrophe-s form and when one needs to use the preposition of instead. This seems to be a good example of using the preposition: "Do you have the cell phone number of the side in question?" @sumelic got it right, in fact. (This is not an answer because the OP only asked about the apostrophe-s form.) – Kris Apr 13 '15 at 5:56

I would say no. The mark of the possessive case, an apostrophe followed by an "s", must be appended to the noun that is to do the possessing. In your example, the cell phone number does not belong to a question, but to a side. Now, if the possessing noun happens to come at the end of the phrase, then you're in luck, as in "The other child's toy was also brand-new", or "The old man's voice faded away". Otherwise, I fear you don't have a snowball-in-hell's chance of making it work. (Or maybe you do.)

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  • What would you recommend as an alternative to phrases like "the Queen of England's hat"? "The hat of the queen of England?" – herisson Apr 13 '15 at 4:46
  • Thanks. That makes sense. I'm going to use Kris's idea of using the preposition of if I ever have this problem again. And what about @sumelic's question? – Squarology Apr 13 '15 at 23:42
  • Seems the "(Or maybe you do.)" gets it, instead. – Kris Apr 14 '15 at 11:17


"the party [in question]," thus

"Do you have the party's cell phone number?"

Death of Compassion: The Endangered Doctor-patient... - Page 122 Jeffrey Thurston - 1996

Do you have the party's name to which you wish to speak?" “No, I do not. As I was saying, this is Dr. Thurston and..." “Patient name and group number please.” “The patient's name is Jackson, Brooke T., and I don't have the group number.

State of New York Supreme Court Appellate Division Third ... - Page 87

A. Yes. He got paid for that day. Q. Is it specifically mentioned on there? A. No. Q. How does he bill you? Doesn't he say I installed windows at such and such a place? A. Do you have the party's name. I can go by the I18NII]Q. Q. All he says on ...


Who is on trial? Conflicts between the federal and state ... United States. Congress. House. Committee on Government Operations. Government Information, Justice, and Agriculture Subcommittee- 1988

... mediocre system down here at the lower level that actually did the trial is not capable of a judicial review that would take into consideration the party's in question rights?

The American and English Encyclopedia of Law - Volume 9 - Page 278 John Houston Merrill, ‎Charles Frederic Williams, ‎Thomas Johnson Michie - 1889 - ‎Full view - ‎More editions Under the Louisiana code it is necessary that the witness should declare they know the disputed signature to be the party's in question.

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