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1) We opened the basement door and entered it.

2) We opened the basement's door and entered it.

3) We opened the door of the basement and entered it.

Which of the above sentences are correct? It is obvious that we entered the basement, not the door!

Gratefully, Navi.

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As your last sentence says, 1), which has door as the only noun to which it can strictly refer, would be mistaken - if English had to be fed through a compiler that checked for syntax errors. In reality, the purpose of language is to communicate ideas, so no native speaker would bat an eyelid.

  • Consider the sentence: "He didn't like the mission schedule and <verb> it". If the verb is "cancelled" then "it" refers to the mission. If it is "modified", it refers to the schedule. – Graffito Apr 15 '16 at 9:44
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Two versions are correct:

1) We opened the basement door and entered it.

3) We opened the door of the basement and entered it.

  • What's wrong with 2)? – deadrat Apr 15 '16 at 8:55
  • @Cathy What if the basement has a door? Then basement's door can be used, right? Why do you think 2 is incorrect? – Nagarajan Shanmuganathan Apr 15 '16 at 9:02
  • @undecided Where did you learn this? Do you think it's wrong to write about the water's edge because water can't own anything? Which do you think is more used, the water's edge, the waters edge, or the water edge? – deadrat Apr 15 '16 at 9:33
  • @ everyone: There are certain expressions in English. For example, open the car door, not the car's door. Close the kitchen door on your way out. The basement door needs painting. And then there are literary expressions, like at the water's edge. Just learn each expression. Don't fight the language. There's no rule for this. Google an expression to see what's used. Native speakers just know them by ear and through reading. – Cathy Gartaganis Apr 15 '16 at 11:29

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