3

I've looked, and while there does not seem to be any truly legitimate sources out there on the web that support "each's" being proper grammar. Opposing that, Google Docs does not put a wavy red line below it (denoting a misspelled or nonexistent word). Can anybody help?

1
  • 3
    Note that there are two different interpretations of "each's" -- possessive or contraction. Context would be required to determine which interpretation to use, and whether the usage was reasonably idiomatic.
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Feb 21, 2021 at 2:20

2 Answers 2

2

According to Fowler's Dictionary of Modern English Usage (2015; link), each's is

an uncommon but acceptable use: The distressing conflict between Catholics and Jews… is driven by each's belief that the other is attempting to [etc.] Chicago Tribune, 1989.

Furthermore, each's is listed together with another's, each other's, either's, one's, one another's, other's, etc. in A Concise Guide for Writers by Louis E. Glorfeld, David A. Lauerman, Norman C. Stageberg, 1984 (link)

CGEL is a bit less certain. It says the following (p. 420, boldface emphasis mine)

The forms we analyse as fused heads either cannot occur in the genitive at all or do so only very rarely. *All's, *many's, *few's, *some's, for example, are completely excluded, while each's is occasionally attested but of somewhat questionable status. A pronoun analysis provides no account of why this should be so, while the fused analysis does suggest a reason: the form is simultaneously determiner and head, and for full acceptability its case should match both functions. The genitive marking in many people's expenses goes on the head, not the determiner, and hence there is a conflict between case and determiner function in *many's expenses.

Finally, if you search google books for "each's" (like this), you will find quite a few hits in publications written by native speakers.

Some examples:

Radial distance of the peak position, midpoint position and peak - to - midpoint difference from each's primary only average for each delay for Data Set 1
From Anthony R. Valenzuela, Relativistic Free Electrons in an Intense Laser Field: Experimental Observations of Optically-induced Deflection of an Ultrashort Electron Beam, (2005) (link)

We feel that he is justified in fearing each's suffering, looking forward to each's pleasures, planning for each's future, and so on.
From Jeff McMahan, The Ethics of Killing: Problems at the Margins of Life, (2001) (link)

….immediate and full reinstatement to each's former position or, if such position no longer exists, to a substantially equivalent position, without prejudice to each's seniority, or other rights previously enjoyed…
From Decisions and Orders of the National Labor Relations Board, Volume 256 (1981) (link)

It is true that the verdict that each's is acceptable is not unanimous. For example, in The Practical Guide to Writing: with Readings and Handbook by Sylvan Barnet (2007, link), it is stated that

Each cannot be made into a possessive; you cannot say "Each's opinion is acceptable."

The other two 'big' modern comprehensive descriptive grammars of English (ComGEL and Longman) do not say anything one way or another about each's. Neither do Garner's Modern American Usage, The Chicago Manual of Style, or The Associated Press Stylebook.

On the whole, the balance of evidence suggests that each's is generally acceptable, albeit uncommon. Having said that, there will be native speakers who will find it nearly unacceptable.

5
  • 1
    I really don't think this word is good form. One should either refer to "each side's belief that..." or "the belief of each that...", with the individual thing in possession being implicit in the latter case. I suspect the absence of any guidance about this is style guides, is a sign that it is considered wrong.
    – Steve
    Commented Feb 21, 2021 at 19:54
  • @Steve Style guides are not shy about warning against practices they disapprove of, even when these practices are not outright mistakes (e.g. when Garner's says, 'Avoid amalgamation whenever amalgam will suffice'). Thus I don't agree that their silence on this matter is evidence of anything except perhaps of the rarity of each's. Also, some style guides do address each's, e.g. the three I mentioned in the answer. Finally, each one of us is certainly entitled to have our own stylistic preferences. But in the case of each's, we should be clear that that's all they are: preferences. Commented Feb 21, 2021 at 20:24
  • 1
    I'd maintain that each's is nonstandard and infelicitous - it's wrong to my eye, even though I can't articulate exactly why, and even though I'm not intolerant of novel constructions or poetic licence. But each to his own, I suppose.
    – Steve
    Commented Feb 21, 2021 at 20:31
  • 1
    @Steve Ha, I just found a mention of each's in CGEL (my original search didn't work because it turns out OCR interpreted it as 'eacKs'). I've updated my answer. CGEL says that, while each's definitely isn't as bad as e.g. * All's, * many's, * few's, or * some's, it is not that great, either: 'each's is occasionally attested but of somewhat questionable status'. Also, I actually agree with you that each's looks weird. I doubt I would personally ever use it. But it is clear that quite a few native speakers are very comfortable with it. Commented Feb 21, 2021 at 20:59
  • @Steve *But to each's own, I suppose.
    – New Saxony
    Commented Feb 27, 2021 at 0:14
4

The form each's is not in common use.

There is no adequate definition of what it means to "be a word".

Genitive 's

Here is a linguistics paper that notes that "demonstratives, numbers, and other bare determiners" usually cannot form acceptable possessives using -'s:

there are circumstances not involving pronouns in which a possessor might consist only of a Determiner, as illustrated in (20). Interestingly, when these involve demonstratives, numbers, and other bare determiners, the possessed forms generally seem unacceptable.

(20) a. *These’s illustrations are more competently drawn than those’s.
b. *Of the books I lent you, two’s/some’s/many’s covers were soiled when you brought them back.
c. ... one’s cover was soiled.

("The English “Group Genitive” is a Special Clitic", Stephen R. Anderson)

The word "each" functions as a determiner, so this generalization, if correct, would explain why "each's" sounds unacceptable.

Verb contraction 's

The spelling 's is also used to indicate a contracted pronunciation of is, has, and in some contexts does. While there is nothing wrong about using the pronunciation [itʃəz] (in some accents, it would instead be [itʃɪz] or [itʃɨz]) in a sentence like "Make sure [itʃəz]/[itʃɪz]/[itʃɨz] ready", I don't think it's common to write this as "each's" rather than as "each is".

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