I've been unable to successfully search for or determine the name of this scenario that involves multiple possessive words in sequence.

We purchased some flowers for the mother of our friend, Jane. I would like to say,

"Here are Jane's mother's flowers."

Is there a name for this construction (not 'compound' or 'joint' possessive since the word "and" is not used)? Is this an unfortunate choice of wording that should be replaced with some other phrasing?

  • 2
    Better yet: "Here is Jane's mother's flowers' receipt"!
    – JMP
    Nov 20, 2020 at 16:15
  • Oh dear! But is this technically correct? I have to imagine this sort of thing frowned upon but I haven't been able to find it discussed anywhere where possessives are covered or in any style guide.
    – jnash
    Nov 20, 2020 at 16:23
  • OK I understand. Can I accept your comment as an answer or just leave things as they are? Thank you for the discussion.
    – jnash
    Nov 20, 2020 at 17:15

1 Answer 1


It's contrived, like:

How can you put the word “and” 5 times in a row in the same sentence? I need to tell a story. The landlord of a pub called The Pig And Whistle asked a signwriter to make a new sign. When he saw it he thought that the words were too close together so he said to the signwriter “I want more space between Pig and And and And and Whistle".

The shopkeeper should just say 'Jane's flowers' as they are until Jane gives them to her mother, along with the receipt no doubt!

  • 1
    The example is [contrived]. The construction is common: Jane's mother's flowers have arrived. The title question shows what is intended; this answer does not address the spirit of the question. Nov 20, 2020 at 19:17

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