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17 votes
Accepted

Why does English employ double possessive pronouns such as theirs and ours?

I don't know why etymonline calls theirs 'a double possessive', but it's not. The unfortunate terminology of 'the double possessive', aka 'the double genitive', is not due to the pronoun theirs itself ...
JK2's user avatar
  • 6,623
7 votes

A friend of John's / John's friend

Short answer You could say either. However, it would perhaps be more natural to say a friend of John's, as the Original Poster suggests. The reason for this is that the speaker will probably want to ...
Araucaria - Him's user avatar
3 votes
Accepted

"Of his" or "of him" in this situation?

Yes, it is correct. It is a case of oblique genitive. You will find plenty of sites calling it double genitive or double possessive, like Wikipedia: The genitive can be combined with an of ...
fev's user avatar
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3 votes
Accepted

Possessive of a possessive

Alzheimer's is correct. There is no double possessive in the English language. You can chain possessives (as in your example St Paul's Cathedral's arches). You can also shorten noun phrases (Alzheimer'...
Jamie Clinton's user avatar
3 votes

Why is "our today's meeting" wrong?

As an alumnus of the Haberdashers' Aske's School, I say with some certainty, there is no rule that you can't have two possessives before a noun. But why is this OK and "our today's meeting" not? In ...
Joe P's user avatar
  • 131
2 votes

Double possession dilemma: should I say “your” or “yours”?

When using them separately, we'd use- Your grant... John Wichel Foundation's grant... When using them together, combining them with an 'and'- ...your and John Wichel Foundation's grants... ... ...
kappeezy's user avatar
2 votes

Why is "Two friends of my parents' have just left..." grammatically correct?

It is questionable whether letter a) should be correct. I would argue that the answer is, in fact, c) Two friends of my parents The possessive apostrophe in parents' which answer a) contains, is ...
Mari-Lou A's user avatar
  • 91.8k
2 votes

Use of the possessive

The preposition of already denotes possession or association, so it is not necessary to write Conor's as well. "I am a friend of Conor and his family" would be correct.
Richard Beasley's user avatar
2 votes

When and why we use double-genitive with respect to the word 'of'?

Regarding the 'double genitive', here is what the 'Practical English Usage' by Michael Swan says:
mahmud k pukayoor's user avatar
2 votes

Double Posessive Usage

Leaving out the possessive actually changes the meaning. You might think of each possessive as marking a successive inheritance. The father is Dan's. The breath is Dan's father's. In the example of ...
Kay V's user avatar
  • 380
2 votes

Are both these sentences grammatically correct?

Both are grammatically correct. In (1) try substituting a proper noun for 'him'. For example we might say, "I am not a fan of Tolstoy". This is surely fine, so going back to "him" (the personal ...
Philip Wood's user avatar
2 votes
Accepted

Are phrases of the form "A <possession> of <name>'s" grammatically correct?

Your sentence is much better off as you started, though I would personally prefer not to separate the subject from the verb by too many words: David, using a metaphor of Saul's, said... or Using a ...
fev's user avatar
  • 34.5k
1 vote

NPs containing double genitives: "this harassment of her of yours"

I'll simply cite the King of Spain's daughter's doll's dress as evidence that "possession" (whether conveyed using the Saxon genitive 's or the preposition of) can be used recursively to any ...
FumbleFingers's user avatar
1 vote

Apostrophe 's, "of", or nothing to show possession/ownership?

why do we sometimes show possession/ownership using 's or of, why sometime not? Neither the Saxon genitive (the family's name), nor "of" (the name of the family), nor noun1 + noun2 (the ...
Greybeard's user avatar
  • 43.1k
1 vote

Apostrophe 's, "of", or nothing to show possession/ownership?

As your suggested alternatives indicate, there are any number of ways of showing ownership, both specifically and generally by simply subtracting an 's or adding a couple of words (as in "the dog'...
rhetorician's user avatar
  • 19.4k
1 vote

When and why we use double-genitive with respect to the word 'of'?

There was one of your examples that made the difference clear to me (split by me to better facilitate my explanations below): This is a picture of Bill This is a picture of Bill’s In the first case, ...
Canned Man's user avatar
1 vote

Double possession dilemma: should I say “your” or “yours”?

Kapeezy's is the logical answer, but we don't always speak logically. My sense is that yours and the John Wichel Foundation’s grant is not that uncommon. I had a look at the iWeb corpus, searching ...
Colin Fine's user avatar
  • 77.3k

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