I've noticed that many people say things like: "that's the dad of my babies" "We're the love of each other's life"

And other people say: "That's my babies' dad" "We're each other's love life"

So what's the difference between those two and when to use it? Feel free to give more examples :)


  • 2
    Someone's 'love life' is not the same thing as 'the love of their life'. You would have to say "We're each other's life's love" which doesn't really work. Oct 7 '19 at 15:55
  • 'Stuart's house' and 'House of Stuart' have different default readings, but usually the two alternatives are interchangeable; the of-associative is more formal (thus 'The Return of the King'; 'The Taming of the Shrew'; 'the Age of Caesar'). With picture nouns, there may be more subtle differences ('a painting of Napoleon' and 'Napoleon's painting' have different default senses, and 'a painting of Napoleon's' is also available). Oct 7 '19 at 16:10

English speakers use the possessive apostrophe ("someone's something") where possible, because it makes sentences more clear to specify a direct object without it also being the object of a prepositional phrase, and it makes nested ownership more clear. Consider the sentence:

The toy of the cat of my sister.

This is technically correct. It has eight words, two prepositional phrases, and it's a nested ownership - my sister has a cat, and that cat has a collar. Furthermore, the nested ownership is listed in a pretty unnatural order - from most specific (this one toy) to least specific (things my sister owns). It's more concise and understandable to say:

My sister's cat's toy.

In my opinion, this is a lot more concise (4 words, no prepositional phrases) and the nested ownership is listed from the least specific (things my sister owns) to the most specific (this one collar), as you would expect from an outline:

  • Stuff my sister owns
    • shirt
    • car
      • muffler
      • engine
    • cat
      • toy
      • collar
      • water bowl
  • Mods: I don't think my logic is represented in the original question (the one this is a duplicate of), so I've copied this answer and pasted it there. So don't bother preserving anything from this answer if you delete this question.
    – mRotten
    Oct 7 '19 at 19:17

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