3

Which one should it be?

  1. One of the guys'
  2. One of the guy's

EDIT:

Never mind, I think I answered my own question. I realized it would probably be related to the object being possessed. E.g.:

  1. "One of the guys' swords"
    • means "There are multiple guys. They own multiple swords. I am referring to one of those swords."
  2. "One of the guy's swords"
    • means "There are multiple guys. One of them owns multiple swords. I am referring to one of those swords."

closed as off-topic by FumbleFingers, Tushar Raj, ScotM, keshlam, cornbread ninja 麵包忍者 May 10 '15 at 23:00

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  • 2
    If you answered your own question, feel free to put it in an answer and accept it (you also get a badge for doing that). That way, if anyone else sees this question, they'll also see that it has an accepted answer. – Nicole Apr 26 '15 at 16:45
  • 3
    Although your meaning for 2 isn't quite right. There need only be one guy with multiple swords: "I met a guy who collected swords. One of the guy's swords was a made by a Spanish swordsmith in the 1500s." – Jim Apr 26 '15 at 19:09
  • @Jim Oh, hm that is true. I think my second example is actually closer to your meaning. So, if we use parentheses to denote precedence, the sentence then goes: "One of (the guy's swords)". – Hau Apr 27 '15 at 5:04
  • So how would I represent the meaning I had in example 2? "One of the guys's swords"? Or is my second example correct, and the meaning is ambiguous? – Hau Apr 27 '15 at 5:05
  • I would put it this way: 2. "One of the guy's swords" means "There is one particular guy that I'm focusing on. He owns multiple swords. I am referring to one of those swords." – Sven Yargs May 5 '15 at 7:48
3

One of the guys is one guy among a group of the guys. Adding an apostrophe forms the possessive plural guys':

One of the guys' swords

The word guys' is possessive plural, and the meaning of the sentence is ambiguous, depending on whether one modifies swords or guys:

One sword from a group of swords belonging to the guys.

Or

The swords belonging to one of the guys.

In one of the guy's swords, the word guy's is possessive singular, and the meaning is straightforward: One sword belonging to the guy.

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