Questions tagged [possessives]

Questions about the possessive, one of several constructions that describe ownership or association between two objects.

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7
votes
3answers
70k views

Our bodies' or our body's

In this context: "This [subject] [verb clause] by boosting our [body's || bodies'] immune system?" In this case the writer is using "our" as a generic substitution for "your". The argument went that "...
7
votes
4answers
20k views

“your and Mr X's publication” vs. “you and Mr X's publication”

I came across your and Mr X's publication or I came across you and Mr X's publication
7
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1answer
2k views

Achilles heel and Achilles tendon

Studying possessive apostrophes I have searched on ELU the questions correlated to this matter. I have found the following: «What is the correct possessive for nouns ending in s?» and &...
7
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2answers
21k views

Why is it “Paris’s cafés” but “Massachusetts’ capital”?

I’ve been studying the apostrophe and found this in Merriam-Webster’s Guide to Punctuation and Style: The possessives of proper names are generally formed in the same way as those of common nouns. ...
7
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2answers
2k views

Definite or indefinite article in “the/a devil's advocate”

I can't quite figure out which of the following expressions is more correct: He is the devil's advocate. He is a devil's advocate. He is playing devil's advocate. The combination of an article with ...
7
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6answers
4k views

Is it “John or Mary's house” or “John's or Mary's house”?

I understand that if John and Mary own a house together, it is John and Mary's house. If they jointly owned multiple houses, they would be John and Mary's houses. I also understand that if John and ...
7
votes
1answer
704 views

“Dawkins'” or “Dawkins's” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: When did it become correct to add an 's' to a singular possessive already ending in 's'? I learned from school to use Dawkins', for example That is Mr. ...
7
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1answer
186 views

When did “our” stop being used as an adjective (as in “other our dominions”, “any our Subjects”)?

While reading a letter written by Queen Elizabeth I of England in 1588, I came across a certain construction that doesn't seem to be grammatical in English: RIGHT trustie, and righte welbelovid ...
7
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1answer
210 views

Analyzing 'genitive/accusative + V-ing phrase (gerund-participle phrase)' as different constructions

(1) I regretted [his leaving the firm]. (2) I regretted [him leaving the firm]. (3) I regretted [leaving the firm]. (4) He didn’t bother [giving me a copy]. Regarding the above ...
6
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7answers
30k views

Is [Its'] a word? (Note the apostrophe at the end.)

I just had a strange flashback to a conversation I had when I was in high school, with a man who was regarded by many members of a particular online community as having an impressive degree of ...
6
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2answers
9k views

What does “a day's work” mean?

What does "a day's work" mean? Does it mean a full day's work? The quote below is taken from Charles Dickens' The Haunted House In the summertime, I often rise very early, and repair to my room ...
6
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3answers
127k views

“My parents' friendship with…” vs. “my parent's friendship with…” vs. “my parents friendship with…”

Which of these is correct please, if any? my parents' friendship with Sally's parents my parent's friendship with Sally's parents my parents friendship with Sally's parents What is the ...
6
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2answers
1k views

“The queen of England's crown” or “The queen's of England crown”? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: “My wife and I’s seafood collaboration dinner” What is the correct way of these two sentences? The queen of England's crown The queen's of England crown Strictly ...
6
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4answers
6k views

“Everyone's heads” or “everyone's head”

An example would be "It flew over everyone's heads", or "It flew over everyone's head". What would be correct in this case and why?
6
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2answers
11k views

Possessive form for a surname ending with “z”

What is the proper possessive form for a surname that ends with “z”? Is it z’ or z’s?
6
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1answer
350 views

The significance of “y”

Regarding the pronoun "your", ignoring the singular possessive form. Is there some significance to the "prefix" y or is this a coincidence? Our: Collective possession, including me. Y our: ...
6
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1answer
14k views

Can 'whose' be used for objects? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Is the word 'whose' referring to an inanimate object correct in this sentence? Is there a more appropriate word? Basically I'm wondering if a sentence like this is ...
6
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2answers
2k views

Why do we use “its” for possessive? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Why doesn't “its” have an apostrophe? Generally, there is an apostrophe when someone possesses something: That's Gerald's cat. Gerald's cat is dead. ...
6
votes
1answer
20k views

When do we use “of” rather than “ 's” to show possession? [duplicate]

It is a very simple word but I am quite confused when I write formal documents. I do not know exactly when to use the of rather than 's. For example: The value of the mean or The mean's value. ...
6
votes
1answer
311 views

Order of sentence and using 's

...absolutely 100% our doing, not the Restaurant's. or ...absolutely 100% our doing, not the Restaurants. The first one feels right, but looks a little odd. I think it's the first, because you ...
6
votes
1answer
47k views

“Our Today's Meeting” or “Our meeting that is scheduled for today” [closed]

Is it correct to say: We shall discuss it in our today's meeting. Or would it be more correct to say something longer like: We shall discuss it in our meeting that is scheduled for ...
5
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4answers
94k views

Correct usage of pronoun: “their” vs “its” [closed]

Which word goes in the blank (their or its)? The stones are small, but ___ value is great. I think it is their but my child's paper says it is its. Which is correct and why?
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5answers
1k views

Are there cases where a possessive pronoun is omitted?

Are there cases where the possessive adjective is omitted in a sentence, or is it always used? For example, in a sentence like "Susan was walking with her hands in her pockets", is it necessary to ...
5
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5answers
105k views

“my”, “of me”, “of mine” - when to use these possessive constructions

I have been encountering possessive constructions with the preposition "of" and a possessive form of pronoun frequently, but I do not fully understand what it means and when to use it. In particular, "...
5
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3answers
4k views

Is a possessive noun a contraction?

I was told not to use contractions in an essay. My classmate wrote "the argument of Emily" but I preferred "Emily's argument". He disagreed and claimed "Emily's" is a contraction.
5
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2answers
38k views

“Each person's car” vs. “each persons' car” [closed]

Which of the following is correct? Each person's car has four wheels. Each persons' car has four wheels.
5
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2answers
16k views

Plural name apostrophe position

At my English lesson the native English speaker couldn’t tell what is correct and promised to search it for us! He told us that if James is one person then we should write James' Book but if we ...
5
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2answers
49k views

“Me and Joey's” or “mine and Joey's” [duplicate]

Which of the following should I use? Today is me and Joey's anniversary Today is mine and Joey's anniversary
5
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3answers
45k views

What's the exact usage of “that of”

I think in the following sentence: Adam's answer was similar to that of clergy. "That of clergy" can be replaced by "clergy's" or "clergy's answer": Adam's answer was similar to clergy's. So, ...
5
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2answers
558 views

Train service or Train's service - Adj or Possessive (Edit) Genitive

I saw this announcement on train: The train service terminates at ... I think, in the noun phrase the train service, the word train does not modify the noun service (Edit: as other noun acting as ...
5
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2answers
1k views

“both of” + possessive, which noun does “both of” refer to?

Both of the boy's parents were happy with the new school. Is it proper English to say "both of the boy's parents", as in the above sentence, to mean "both parents of the boy"? Or do we have to use ...
5
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4answers
1k views

How to phrase “my time and Bob's time” more succinctly?

I can say "Bob and I are going" instead of "I'm going and Bob is going." I want to say something like "This is a waste of my time and Bob's time," but only saying "time" once. I can't say "our" ...
5
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3answers
6k views

Where should the apostrophe be placed in “Goats Milk”?

Milk from goats is available in supermarkets. On the shelves of our local store in England, I have found cartons boldly labelled all three of Goats Milk Goat's Milk Goats' Milk Most brands use ...
5
votes
1answer
605 views

Do I add “ ’s ” after the number on a pope/king’s name? (e.g. Pope Paul VI’s)

Which of these is it supposed to be? Pope Paul VI's or Pope Paul's VI I know that the second one sounds funny (and silly), but isn't the number technically not a part of the pope's name?
5
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3answers
54k views

Is “I am at the doctor's” a correct usage? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Store names & possessive Is the following sentence a correct usage to tell someone that I'm in the clinic to see the doctor right now I'm at the doctor's
5
votes
2answers
158 views

Can dummy “it” occur as possessive “its”?

I don't want to get too bogged down in exactly what constitutes a dummy pronoun usage (personally, I'd include things like Who's there? It's John, even if not everyone else does). But on this recent ...
5
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2answers
124k views

Plural possessive with separate posessions

When we refer to a house that belongs to a family, we say "family's house". Pluralizing family gives us "families". Referring to the houses of several families, we say "families' houses". Forming the ...
5
votes
1answer
238 views

Castleford dialect

I have recently heard the following from young children originating from Castleford, West Yorkshire: Yourn, meaning yours, hern, meaning hers, arn, meanig ours Could this be related to the ...
5
votes
1answer
6k views

How to use possessive form for proper nouns that already have an apostrophe [duplicate]

How would one write a possessive form for a proper noun that already has an apostrophe-s in it? For example, I want to use the possessive form of "McDonald's" maybe in the sentence "The Market Street ...
5
votes
4answers
312 views

Reverse relationship of Belong?

Consider the phrase: "That shovel belongs to Tim." which when you reverse the subject becomes: "Tim owns that shovel" However there is another use of belong, which means membership of. "Susan ...
5
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5answers
18k views

“You and your” vs. “Your and your”

Which is correct, and why? identifying you and your competitors’ relative market performance or identifying your and your competitors’ relative market performance Each entity is in possession ...
5
votes
1answer
1k views

What is the possessive for several names?

If Alice and Bob each has a house, are these "Alice and Bob's houses" or "Alice's and Bob's houses"? Does that change anything if each of the houses belongs to both of them?
5
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4answers
62k views

apostrophes : girls' and boys' team

Quoting businesswritingblog.com: The girls' and boys' teams are both in the playoffs. (Both girls and boys have their own team--both have their own apostrophe.) The girls and boys' team ...
5
votes
2answers
30k views

“these days” - what is the correct usage/meaning?

Recently whilst writing a report I typed the following sentence: "Funerals still represent a celebration of the life of the deceased, but these days families and friends often use the time to ...
5
votes
1answer
118k views

“The childrens' blankets” or “The children's blankets” [closed]

I know that when we're talking about something that is possessed collectively by all children it is "children's". What about a scenario where one of the possessed nouns belongs to each individual ...
5
votes
2answers
875 views

Use of possessive adjectives in English

When an Englishman wants to refer to parts of the body or to objects of personal use, he will use a possessive adjective. Examples: My head aches. I dropped my glasses. In the Romance ...
5
votes
3answers
2k views

Genitive case or attributive noun

Is there any rule for when it is better to use genitive case or noun as adjective? I'm not sure if there is any difference in meaning in this example: The department of accounting The ...
5
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0answers
40 views

How can I make initialisms that refer to plurals possessive? [duplicate]

I want to know if it is correct to treat AF as a proper name and thus write "AF's concept" or if I must take the words of the initialism into consideration and write "AFs' (as I would write "Armed ...
5
votes
0answers
77 views

How do I refer to all the properties of one document among many documents? [duplicate]

There are many documents, and each document has many properties. I am trying to say "the properties of one of the documents" I believe that it is correct to say One of the documents' properties is....
4
votes
3answers
5k views

Can “his/her” be replaced by “his”?

Yesterday, I asked this question on Web Apps: If a Facebook user dies, what happens to the account? Actually, I wanted to ask it this way: If a Facebook user dies, what happens to his/her ...