62

Donald Knuth, that doyen of computer science, says in Art of Computer Programming, Vol 2.: Detail-oriented readers and copy-editors should notice the position of the apostrophe in terms like "two's complement" and "ones' complement": a two's complement number is complemented with respect to a single power of 2, whereas a ones' complement number is ...


27

There is a bias against the genitive case with inanimate things, that is sometimes found in advice to avoid it in some cases. In some cases that advice is indeed, that one should only use it with people and sometimes that one should only use it with living things. (So "the dog's" is allowed, but "the car's" is not). Fowler raged against it, and blamed ...


17

You are right. If the distillery is jointly possessed by the poets and painters then you only need the apostrophe after Painters. Similarly, John and Mary's house is the house owned jointly by John and Mary. If John and Mary each have their own houses, then you need apostrophes after both possessive nouns: John's and Mary's houses. Note, however, that to ...


15

It would depend on what you meant. If you mean the Brazilian army was short of ammunition, then you would write the Brazilian Army's ammo supply is low. But if you were referring to an army that is not the Brazilian army, but instead owned or run by a particular Brazilian (perhaps an army of toy soldiers, or an army of mercenaries), then the Brazilian's ...


12

According to The Grammar Bible by Michael Strumpf (page 29), in a section on "Possessive Case": Sometimes possession is shared by several nouns. In these cases, just make the last word in the series possessive. America and Canada's timber resources are dwindling Thomas and French's discovery shocked the world. Leslie and Eric's lasagna is to ...


8

The English apostrophe-s is not a case inflection the way you have in German or Russian, Latin or Greek. Rather it is a clitic that attaches to the end of the entire noun phrase, not merely to the head noun of that phrase. That's why you have things like the Queen of England’s hat on one hand or King Henry VIII’s many unfortunate wives on the other. Just ...


8

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 mark the noun phrase as indefinite. Full answer Noun phrases in English come in two parts. For example, in the noun phrase a huge elephant, the first part is ...


7

If the final sound in the base of the word is voiced, we use the voiced alveolar sibilant /z/. If the last sound in the base is an unvoiced consonant, we use /s/. However, if the last sound in the base form is another sibilant of any description—/s, z, ʃ, ʒ, tʃ, dʒ/—we need to insert a vowel /ɪ/ to make the ending audible. Because this vowel ...


7

If the boat is posssessed equally by the three, you only need put the apostrophe on the last person's name. E.g., John, Jacob, and Mary's boat. The possessive, in a list, on the last person shows collective possession of the group.


6

Normally, a phrase like "the dog's collar" has exactly the same meaning as "the collar of the dog." In this particular case, though, the expression "Land of X" has a special meaning--something like "the land which is characterized by X." When we speak of "the land of Lincoln" or "the land of cotton" or "the land of 10,000 lakes," we mean that those are the ...


6

The "possessive" or genitive -'(s) construction in English has several uses. In modern English, the most common and productive usage is to turn an entire NP (or DP, depending on what framework you're working with) into something that functions as a determiner (also called a determinative by some authors). For example, we can turn the NP "the men" into the ...


6

Mens is sometimes used as an alternative for, you guessed it, men's. It looks invalid because it's a possessive which should have an apostrophe before the "s" but as it's caught on, it's just considered acceptable now. There's also the common noun menswear which is often used instead of men's wear.


6

No, you cannot use things like FDA as adjectives: there is no such thing as **FDAer regulations* or **FDAest regulations* — nor can anything be **very FDA*, or **more FDA* than another any more than regulations can ever "be" FDA. So it is not acting as an adjective there. However, even though they cannot be adjectives, it’s perfectly fine to use them as ...


5

NOTE: Ignore this first bit and skip down to the EDIT section for the right answer. I misread the sentence on first (and second, and third) reading. The closest sentence with correct grammar (but not sense) that matches your own is: The program runs on whoever runs its computer. Because the object of the preposition on is not **whomever*, which is ...


5

You make the noun plural and the entire phrase possessive using the so-called “Saxon genitive”: The queen of England’s favorite food is cake. All queens of England’s favorite food is cake. Compare: The attorney general’s office. All attorneys general’s offices. If that annoys you when you do that, then as the doctor said, don’t do that — just use the ((...


5

My English professor told me that we use of when we are talking about something that is part of or related to another thing. For example, ceiling of my room or subject of the lecture. But 's is used when we are speaking about the ownership relationships and usually related to a person. For example Ali's car or students' room. But according to my researches, ...


5

Sure. Why not. There's nowhere better to put it. (Although some would cite this as a reason why we would be better off without the dot.)


5

Consider the following progression: "I found my ticket, but not yours." "I found my ticket, but not John's." "I've enjoyed some Victorian novels, but not Dickens's." [pronunciation as indicated] "I found our tickets, but not the Smiths'." [pronunciation as indicated] "I saw our neighbours at the show, but not the Smiths'." I think ...


5

I think you might be mistaking attributive nouns in noun–noun compounds for possessive nouns with apostrophes, but I’m not completely certain. When you have a child entertainer, the word child is used attributively not possessively. A noun or noun phrase in English is only considered possessive when it is written with an actual apostrophe, as you would ...


4

I sang to John and Mary's daughter. This is ordinarily understood to express your 'I sang to a female who calls her father John, and calls her mother Mary'. John and Mary is a single conjunctive expression standing in a genitive relationship to daughter. If you want to distinguish this from 'I sang to a guy named John and I sang to this girl who said she ...


4

The Modern English possessive suffix -'s is not a case any longer. Cases inflect nouns, but the -'s attaches to the end of noun phrases, rather than to their head nouns. Technically, an affix that attaches to a syntactic construction instead of to a word of a particular type is called a clitic (a clitic can be either an enclitic or a postclitic, just like ...


4

If Alex and Jen are marrying each other, then it is "Alex and Jen's wedding". If somehow they are marrying two other people, then it is "Alex's and Jen's wedding". This distinction becomes more significant when the possession is also plural. Alex and Jen's cats are the cats owned jointly by Alex and Jen. Alex's and Jen's cats are the cat or cats owned by ...


4

In my view, this question has three dimensions—one focused on logic, one concerned with style-guide preferences, and one emphasizing real-world usage. The logic dimension As a matter of logic, the answer in this exchange: "Who ate the pie I left on the table to cool?" "John's or Mary's dog." has less ambiguity than the answer in this exchange: ...


4

You should say "Ottoman war machine" and "Byzantine city of Constantinople". Ottoman, although derived from a name, is one of the words that people like to say is "used as an adjective". The phrase "Ottoman Empire" is actually an example of this usage. (The Oxford English Dictionary lists Ottoman as an actual adjective; some people might say it is actually ...


4

Assuming were talking about the his-possessive and its ilk (also called the "possessive dative"), the forms with "her" and "their" were used "very rarely", so that's likely the reason. The form with his was more popular, and would even be used (albeit rarely) with females (such as in "Mrs. Sands his maid") and things (such as in "the verse his cause"). ...


3

Technically? The "Land of the Moon" is the correct way to phrase it because most often animate objects take the Saxon genitive form ('s). You're personifying the moon; it can not possess anything. So if this is in formal writing, use the form appropriate for inanimate objects like the moon. Otherwise, it's your choice. In fiction, that would be a style issue,...


3

There is no special rule here: you simple use the same rule as you do for other words. That means that the specific answers to your two sentences are: The ball is Travis’s. Here come the Travises. Those last words are of course pronounced the same. There are imported -is words that go to -es, like crisis > crises, but Travis is not one of them. You ...


3

One's It's the one exception to the pronouns in not having a separate apostrophe-free genitive though historically there were others (it's and who's are now incorrect where one would use its or whose, but once upon a time this wasn't the case). It can help one remember this, to consider that ones exists as the plural of other senses of one, and one's is a ...


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