1

“This was brought about by the king of Troy’s, Priam’s, death.”

In this sentence, should the ’s be tagged on to “the king of Troy”, “Priam”, or both?

marked as duplicate by AmE speaker, Dan Bron, Sven Yargs, Nigel J, user240918 Dec 19 '17 at 11:15

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

  • 1
    Here is a similar question, but I think the accepted answer is kind of mediocre: How should I use a possessive apostrophe when a name is between commas? – sumelic Dec 18 '17 at 7:50
  • 1
    The 's morpheme began as a noun inflection in Old English, but has clearly now become a clitic which attaches to the end of a whole noun phrase, not to individual words in the phrase. – Colin Fine Dec 18 '17 at 11:02
  • As Colin Fine already stated, the whole phrase "the king of Troy Priam" takes the possessive: "the king of Troy Priam's". OTOH, if you prefer better readability, you could it rephrased suitably. – Kris Dec 18 '17 at 12:00
  • @DanBron where's the plural noun ending in an "s" in king of Troy and Priam? I'm asking because you recommended closing this question as a duplicate. – Mari-Lou A Dec 19 '17 at 8:49
1

Two possessive markers can co-exist side by side if there are two "owners". For example,

Agamemnon's wife's name was Clytemnestra

But in the OP's example saying …the king of Troy's Priam's death, without commas, is saying that Priam ‘belongs’ to the King of Troy. That is one too many apostrophes for my liking. Use parenthesis instead of commas to disambiguate the two nouns.

“This was brought about by Priam's (the king of Troy) death.”

Alternatively, I would recommend rephrasing the OP's statement, using a prepositional phrase

It was brought by the death of Priam, the king of Troy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.