2

Upd.: I added the results of Ngram at the ending of this post.

I have some sources below which I can make the next conclusions from:

  1. "the bowl of the dog" is incorrect

  2. "the house of the dog" is correct

  3. "the tail of the dog" is correct

Why are numbers 2. and 3. correct, but 1. not? What is the difference between them all?

Now, in detail:


1) forum.wordreference.com:

I think "That's a bowl of my dog" is grammatically wrong.

forum.wordreference.com:

'This is the house of the dog' may be grammatically correct, but it's a pretty unlikely sentence. We would naturally say 'This is the dog's house.'

'This is the bowl of the dog' ... would sound ... odd.

So, 1. "…the bowl of the dog" is incorrect


2) englishforums.com:

the double possessive is pretty much always used with people ...: "This is a friend of Laura's" ... a dog isn't a person. So "This is the house of the dog" is fine.

So, 2. "…the house of the dog" is correct


3) english.stackexchange.com:

Of the two:

  • The dog's tail.
  • The tail of the dog.

Grammatically, both are correct.
[…] when writing, it is advantageous to communicate your point with as few words as possible making your point clear and concise. Hence, why "The dog's tail" is preferential in colloquial english as opposed to "The tail of the dog."

So, 3. "the tail of the dog" is correct


Why are numbers 2. and 3. correct, but 1. not? What is the difference between them all? For me they are all the same.


Upd.:

"house of * dog" vs "dog's house" — Nobody uses "house of * dog":

"house of * dog" and "dog's house"

"bowl of * dog" vs "dog's bowl" — Nobody uses "bowl of * dog" (without taking into account "bowl of dry dog food"):

"bowl of * dog" and "dog's bowl"

"tail of * dog" vs "dog's tail" — Sometimes people can use "tail of * dog":

"tail of * dog" and "dog's tail"

To make it clearer:

"tail of a/the dog" vs "a/the dog's tail":

"tail of a/the dog" and "a/the dog's tail"

"tail of my/your/... dog" vs "my/your/... dog's tail":

"tail of my/your/... dog" and "my/your/... dog's tail"

So, why can people use "tail of * dog" but not use "bowl/house of * dog"?

Thanks!

  • The bowl of the dog and the house of the dog may be grammatically correct, but they are both incredibly uncommon. Your second source is just wrong. – Peter Shor Jun 25 at 23:22
  • 1) Why are the phrases with "bowl" and "house" very unlikely? 2) Why do you not say that the phrase with "tail" is very unlikely too? Thanks! – Loviii Jun 25 at 23:26
  • Because Google shows that the tail of the dog, the head of the dog, the feet of the dog, the hair of the dog, the teeth of the dog are not incredibly uncommon. (And they all sound okay to me as a native English speaker, which the other two sound wrong.) – Peter Shor Jun 25 at 23:30
  • Cascabel, I didn't quite understand what you mean. After each source I placed the quote from this source. – Loviii Jun 25 at 23:32
  • 1
    @Chaim - and in that context, “the bowl of the dog with long hair is empty” sounds fine to me, as does “The long-haired dog’s bowl is empty.” – Jim Jul 26 at 19:41
1

The comparison phrases you are using would normally be expressed as follows:

The house of the dog => the dog's house => the kennel (noun: a shelter for a dog)

The tail of the dog => the dog's tail

The correct sentence order is << The [owner] [object] >>. In the example of the dog house, "kennel" conveys that entire meaning, so there is no need even to specify that it belongs to the dog.

Following this structure, "the dog's bowl" is correct way of expressing "the bowl of the dog." Likewise "Laura' friend," "Mark's car," "Ron's phone" and so on.

You can also substitute pronouns for proper names, such as "his car," "her handbag," "your question," and so on.

Addendum:

As mentioned in the comments below, the source of the confusion may arise when transliterating from languages which use noun-verb word order to English which uses verb-noun.

For example, in my native language Maltese, we would say "id-dhar ta-kelb". Literal translation, "the house of the dog" (dhar=house, kelb=dog). However, in fluent English we transpose the noun and verb, so the phrase becomes "the dog's house".

  • The OP would like to know why "the bowl of the dog" is said to be wrong but NOT "the house of the dog" and "the tail of the dog". You have given better and more idiomatic alternatives, but you didn't say whether the OP's sentences are grammatical/idiomatic or not. – Mari-Lou A Jun 26 at 1:16
  • 1
    I would challenge that proposition. I am of the opinion that "the house of the dog" and "the tail of the dog" are grammatically permissible but not fluent. The problem comes from transliterating directly from languages which use noun-verb order, while English uses verb-noun. For example, in Maltese (my native language), we would say "id-dhar ta-kelb" = "the house of the dog". In English, we swap the verb-noun, it becomes "the dog's house". – Mark Micallef Jun 26 at 1:20
  • 1
    I think if you actually included the comment you just made into your answer, I'd upvote it! – Mari-Lou A Jun 26 at 1:23
  • Mark Micallef, I added the results of Ngram at the ending of OP if you are interested. – Loviii Jun 26 at 14:32

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