In some cases it is crystal clear, for instance in

my mother's nose

the nose clearly belongs to my mother.

In cases where the name is adjectival, it also makes sense not to use it.

But what is "enough" to qualify for ownership in that case ? What about the parking spot of your car ? Would you say

your car's parking spot ?


your car parking spot ?

and why ? In this old thread I saw a mention of

Indefinite names don't get possessive s.

I know such things as definite/indefinite articles, but I didn't know this principle transferred to nouns (does it even?). And in the previous example, I used "your car" where your is a possessive adjective, is it enough to know which car we are talking about in particular to qualify for a possessive even though we didn't use a definite article ?

Since "your car" is an inanimate object, can it even possess anything ?

  • 3
    The possessive relationship indicated by the apostrophe not only denotes true possession (e.g. Mary's car), but also relationships (e.g. Mary's sister), measurements (a minute's thought), partitives (the book's pages), and others. Here is a similar question to yours about "the car/'s parking spot": english.stackexchange.com/questions/413353/…
    – Shoe
    Commented Jan 10, 2023 at 11:42
  • 1
    There are many related questions; see also the list here.
    – Stuart F
    Commented Jan 10, 2023 at 11:58
  • I could refer to my car's position, and to be honest I find that far more natural than talking about my car's parking spot (it's my parking spot, not my car's! :) But it's often not particularly helpful to think about "possession, ownership" in the context of the Saxon Genitive / possessive apostrophe. Commented Jan 10, 2023 at 14:32
  • Genitive is the marked relation between nouns; it comes up when, for instance, a verb phrase is transformed into a noun phrase: the woman ran becomes the running of the woman without going through any "possession" -- the of simply marks the noun that would be the intransitive subject. If the verb phrase were transitive (the woman ran the race) then the of would mark the object (like an intransitive subject, a transitive object is absolutive, not ergative). Transitive agent subjects are ergative and they take by, not of: The running of the race by the woman. Commented Jan 10, 2023 at 16:27
  • Does this answer your question? Is using the possessive 's correct in "the car's antenna"? Commented Jan 10, 2023 at 16:57


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