If I were to say that I was a former student of a particular person (for this purpose let's pretend his/her name is Eve), would I add an apostrophe s to the name because I would be referring to them as being one of their students? In other words, would I say:

  1. "I'm a former student of Eve."
  2. "I'm a former student of Eve's."
  • The "duplicate" is not a duplicate in this specific case, because "student of" (a subject) has a particular meaning that "friend of" (a person) does not. With "student," the possessive implies a transitive relationship with a person, while its lack implies an intransitive relationship with an area of study. – Jason Bassford May 9 '18 at 4:27
  • (I may be using "intransitive" loosely, and could have expressed that better.) – Jason Bassford May 9 '18 at 5:10

They are both grammatical, yet they have different meanings. (At least in a formal sense.)

I'm a former student of Eve.

This means that you are a former student of the subject Eve. You studied Eve. (Just like you could say that you were a former student of English.)

I'm a former student of Eve's.

This is more along the lines of what you actually mean. You were, formerly, a student in Eve's class. (You would not say you were a former student of English's—unless English were actually somebody's name.)

| improve this answer | |

As I understand it, you are saying in the first part of the sentence that you're her student, as you are using for. So, in this case, you may either say:

  1. "I'm a former student of Eve."


  1. "I'm Eve's former student".
| improve this answer | |
  • I don't think it changes anything, but I'm no longer one of her students. I was using "for" as in, for the example. Her name isn't actually Eve. I think you are right though and the "possible duplicate" link explains my question further. Thank you for your help. – kfox May 9 '18 at 2:27

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