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What I mean to say is that you have several microchips, and I'm offering to boost the performance of one of them. In that case, is it correct to say ...?

You can improve...

  1. one of your chip's performance
  2. one of your chips' performance

Option 1 seems right to me, because I'm talking about the performance of a single chip, but option 2 seems right to me also, because just within the "one of your chips," as in "one of your chips broke down" the chips are obviously plural.

I understand that I could sidestep the issue and say something like "the performance of one of your chips", but I am nevertheless curious which one of the above would be correct.

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  • There is a twist here. 'One of my friend's cars is in the garage' and 'One of my friends' cars is in the garage' include count usages ('One of my friend's three cars is in the garage' / 'One of my friends' three cars is in the garage'). But the noun involved after the set partitive here is a non-count usage. It resists pluralisation, but it sounds wrong in the singular form. I can't see a way round this other than to rephrase using the periphrastic rather than the Saxon genitive. Commented Mar 31, 2022 at 11:30
  • My chip, your chip?? Who would say this, the computer tech guy?
    – Lambie
    Commented Mar 31, 2022 at 12:50
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    Personally, I would say: The performance of one of your chips.
    – Lambie
    Commented Mar 31, 2022 at 16:28
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    "chips" here is definitely plural, even though you are only talking about one of them. I disagree with the (unsourced) answer in the linked question.
    – Esther
    Commented Mar 31, 2022 at 16:52
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    @EdwinAshworth you don't seem to have read my comments, as I referred to the "non-countable quality" of the chip/s – the performance being the specific non-countable quality here (but it could have been uniqueness, composition, silicon, compliance, heat, etc). Because the specified quality is a non-count noun, the phrase "one of" (i.e. one of several) cannot refer to that quality so it must refer to chips. The possessive of chips is chips'. I repeat: the non-countability of performance leaves no option but to use the plural possessive. Commented Apr 2, 2022 at 9:00

2 Answers 2

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In "one of your chips" the word "chips" is plural, ending in "s". Therefore the apostrophe should come after the "s", so "one of your chips' performance" is correct. Putting the apostrophe before the "s" would be talking about the performance of one of your chip (no "s").

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    But at a claimed duplicate we find the accepted answer to 'My first though was "one of the families' [corrected] house", taking "one of the families" as a single noun and appending ' to it. This ... sounds ... a bit strange, though.': 'The construct you suggest is rather awkward as you said yourself. The best way to talk about the specific house is to rephrase the sentence and say instead: "...this will probably entail a party at the house of one of the families." Commented Apr 2, 2022 at 11:48
  • @EdwinAshworth, I concur about the best way to express the required meaning.
    – Peter
    Commented Apr 2, 2022 at 11:58
  • Remember the Master Rule. Orwell's Sixth. (Of course, it's admittedly highly subjective, and even if he were still alive, we'd all be arguing about whether his 'sounds outlandish' set is the correct one.) Commented Apr 2, 2022 at 15:05
  • This answer states that one of your chip's is wrong, then states (as if the earlier statement and the fact that chips is plural imply it) that one of your chips' is correct. It implicitly assumes that at least one of those forms is correct. This assumption is invalid.
    – Rosie F
    Commented May 2, 2022 at 6:52
  • @RosieF, I did not claim that one of your chip's was wrong until after I had claimed that one of your chips' was correct. When making the possessive form of a noun one appends either an apostrophe then "s", or merely an apostrophe. The apostrophe is not inserted into the word. If James has a car it is correct to write of it as James' car. However Jame's car would not belong to James, but to Jame.
    – Peter
    Commented May 2, 2022 at 13:31
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From how I see it, chip's is correct. If you are talking about a singular chip, then saying 's is correct. Multiple chips would move the s in front of the apostrophe.

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  • Your answer could be improved with additional supporting information. Please edit to add further details, such as citations or documentation, so that others can confirm that your answer is correct. You can find more information on how to write good answers in the help center.
    – Community Bot
    Commented Apr 2, 2022 at 2:37
  • But at a claimed duplicate we find the accepted answer to 'My first though was "one of the families' [corrected] house", taking "one of the families" as a single noun and appending ' to it. This ... sounds ... a bit strange, though.': 'The construct you suggest is rather awkward as you said yourself. The best way to talk about the specific house is to rephrase the sentence and say instead: "...this will probably entail a party at the house of one of the families." Commented Apr 2, 2022 at 11:50
  • @EdwinAshworth It should be "one of the families' houses" because there is more than one house to choose from. And yes, that could mean that at least one family had more than one house itself; but that doesn't actually matter, because there is still more than one house to choose from.
    – Andrew Leach
    Commented May 2, 2022 at 13:36

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