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The company, for security reasons, would not want a single one of its employees to have access to the company BTC wallet's password. Any transaction would have to meet the approval of more than one employee.

In this sentence, why is it "BTC wallet's password"? Why isn't it "the password of a BTC wallet"?

  • ""BTC the password of wallet" doesn't make sense. "the company BTC wallet" seems to be a phrase. Think of it like this: "[the company BTC wallet]'s password" = " "the password of [the company BTC wallet]." – sumelic Apr 9 '17 at 7:05
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    You can always replace "X's Y" with "the Y belonging to X", or something similar. It's a stylistic choice. – Hot Licks Apr 9 '17 at 13:26
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    @Otoma - The precise pronoun that's idiomatic varies with the context, and, as with all "rules" about English, there are no doubt exceptions, but I'm not wrong. And as to the "rule" you reference, would you object to someone referring to "the mountain's east slope" or "the house's foundation"? – Hot Licks Apr 9 '17 at 13:54
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    @HotLicks It doesn't really matter whether he objects. He'd still be wrong. There's nothing unusual about the story's ending; the ending of the story is equivalent but needlessly verbose and less common; and his authority is a British ESL teacher's blog. – lly Apr 9 '17 at 14:24
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    @Otoma You seem to have made your mind up about the inanimate-possessive issue, so it can't be what your question is about. I'm curious about what you want to know by asking this question. – Lawrence Apr 9 '17 at 15:03
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Because it's terser

Modern English prizes brevity and clarity in expression. There's no reason to elongate the phrase into the password of the BTC wallet of the company and several reasons not to.

The 'rule' you were taught and linked to is balderdash. The ESL teacher was misunderstanding/simplifying this prescriptivist rule that 's should go with things that are vaguely people-like (inclusive of animals, companies, organizations, countries, personifications, &c.)

No one at all pays attention to that 'rule' and people use possessive 's for animals and inanimate objects constantly. Of course, don't bother challenging your teacher or fighting with the person who grades your papers... but don't be surprised when you see this construction.

  • and several reasons not to. -- what are they? – Otoma Apr 12 '17 at 15:28
  • It uses up more time, it uses up more space, it uses up more printer's ink, it sounds more awkward, it sounds less natural, it sounds more robotic, it sounds more Victorian and less modern, it is less clear in spoken contexts since you're piling on identical prepositional phrase after prepositional phrase but including adjectives into some of them but not others... It's just bad and, no, you shouldn't write or say it that way except to please your teacher and her mistaken 'rule'. – lly Apr 13 '17 at 0:38
  • That said, it's context dependent and there may be clearer or more natural occasions when ... of ... of ... might be fine. A generic ... of the company ... at the end of that list (instead of of the company's BTC wallet) is always going to be awkward but there are other sensible occasions for the construction: He's a senior vice president of the Bank of America is fine. – lly Apr 13 '17 at 0:42
  • If you needed a figure of authority instead of one of common sense, the answer to the first question on this page includes the editors of the Chicago Manual of Style openly ridiculing proponents of the "rule" you were taught. – lly Apr 13 '17 at 0:49

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