I am wondering about the "double possessive" I have been reading about.

I have a couple of sentences as an example:

He’s a new client of Jane and Kevin’s and a close childhood friend of Steven O’Neill’s.

I thought that the above sentence was correct, because it sounds natural to use the apostrophe S to me, in the same way that we say "he's a friend of mine."

However, I have heard people criticize sentences such as that one above as having a "double possessive" because of the OF as well as the apostrophe S.

Is the above sentence correct or should it be:

He’s a new client of Jane and Kevin and a close childhood friend of Steven O’Neill.

Thank you - any help would be greatly appreciated.

  • Question Regarding Possessives with ('s) and (of).
    – user140086
    Jan 28, 2016 at 9:18
  • 1
    @MoniqueH An apostrophe after O'Neill is not required. As you say, the possessive meaning is conveyed by the of phrase. Your example means simply "He is a ... friend of Steven O'Neill".
    – BillJ
    Jan 28, 2016 at 9:53
  • Thank you Bill. I agree with you. It's just that the O'Neill's version sounds better to me for some reason!
    – MoniqueH
    Jan 28, 2016 at 9:56

1 Answer 1


It's a shortened version of "A friend of Steven's friends". That is, one of the set of people who are friends of Steven.

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