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Thread: 'of' and 's'

  1. #1
    aysaa is offline Senior Member
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    Default 'of' and 's'

    Hello,

    I would like to learn if the sentence I wrote is used or not.

    Tom and Linda’s father (It is ok)
    But,

    -The father of Tom and Linda’s

    Can we use like that?
    Thanks...
    Last edited by aysaa; 06-Dec-2011 at 23:06.

  2. #2
    emsr2d2's Avatar
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    Default Re: 'of' and 's'

    Quote Originally Posted by aysaa View Post
    Hello,

    I would like to learn if the sentence I wrote is used or not.

    Tom and Linda’s father (It is ok)
    But,

    -The father of Tom and Linda’s

    Can we use like that?
    Thanks...
    No. It's "The father of Tom and Linda".

    If you're going to use the possessive apostrophe+s then your first example should be "Tom's and Linda's father".

    "Tom and Linda's father" is ambiguous and could mean two different people:
    1) Tom
    2) Linda's father

    "Tom's and Linda's father" is not ambiguous. It's clear that one man is the father of both Tom and Linda. If they had different fathers, it would read "Tom's and Linda's fathers".

  3. #3
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    Default Re: 'of' and 's'

    I find myself in the very unusual position of disagreeing with ems.

    Tom and Linda's father: Siblings, referring to one man.
    Tom's and Linda's father: Non-siblings, referring to two men

    Tom's and Linda's father: Doesn't really computer.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

  4. #4
    5jj's Avatar
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    Default Re: 'of' and 's'

    Quote Originally Posted by Barb_D View Post
    I find myself in the very unusual position of disagreeing with ems. I am in that position too - but I also disagree with Barb.

    Tom and Linda's father: Siblings, referring to one man. I agree.
    Tom's and Linda's father: Non-siblings, referring to two men I disagree.
    Tom's and Linda's fathers: Non siblings, referring to two men.
    5

  5. #5
    emsr2d2's Avatar
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    Default Re: 'of' and 's'

    I am duly disagreed with!

    OK, having read Barb and 5jj's posts, I will say that I retract my rather emphatic "No!" from my first post.

    Yes, it is possible to say "Tom and Linda's father" and that is probably what is said more often than not.
    However, I would like to know if Barb really doesn't agree that that could be ambiguous when spoken.

    For example (in writing):

    - Who did you buy the farm from?
    - From Tom, and Linda's father.

    That's clear that it's two separate people. Without the comma in the written version, I too would assume that they were siblings and the farm was bought from one man, their father.

    When spoken, with no pause for the comma:

    - Who did you buy the farm from?
    - From Tom and Linda's father.

    Do you know for sure that s/he bought the farm from the father of two siblings called Tom and Linda, or would you entertain the possibility that s/he bought it from Linda's father and from Tom, who were co-owners of the farm?

    It should also be noted that "Tom and Linda's father" as quoted in the original post is not a complete sentence, nor was the OP's alternative suggestion. Of course, on top of that, there is the fact that the context of the conversation/article and the rest of the sentence might make it entirely clear which one we mean.

  6. #6
    Winwin2011 is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: 'of' and 's'

    The father of Tom and Linda. (referring to a man)
    The fathers of Tom and Linda. (referring to two men)

    Are they correct?

  7. #7
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    Default Re: 'of' and 's'

    Yes

  8. #8
    5jj's Avatar
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    Default Re: 'of' and 's'

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    When spoken, with no pause for the comma:

    - Who did you buy the farm from?
    - From Tom and Linda's father.

    Do you know for sure that s/he bought the farm from the father of two siblings called Tom and Linda, or would you entertain the possibility that s/he bought it from Linda's father and from Tom, who were co-owners of the farm?
    I see three possibilities in speaking:

    1. If Tom and Linda's father are two different people, the speaker will make this clear by timing and intonation.

    2 Alternatively, the speaker may choose to say " Linda's father and Tom".

    3. In any case, as we are on first-name terms here, it seems to me that the speaker is aware that the listener knows who Tom, Linda and the father are.

  9. #9
    TheParser is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: 'of' and 's'

    [QUOTE=aysaa;830220]

    -The father of Tom and Linda’s



    NOT A TEACHER


    (1) Great question. It really forced me to think.

    (2) As the teacher said, you cannot say "The father of Tom and Linda's was at the party."

    (3) I think that I know the problem.

    (a) In English, we can say either "A friend of Tom" or "A friend of Tom's ."

    (b) So you wanted to know whether "The father of Linda's" is correct. Am I

    right?

    (4) Well, I think there is a big difference:

    (a) In "A friend of Tom/Tom's," please notice the word "a." (or "one").

    Thus, if you choose to say "A friend of Tom's," that means something like:

    One friend out of Tom's friends.

    (b) Now look at "The father of Tom." Please notice the word "the." Of course,

    a person has only one father. So we could never say:

    One father out of Tom's fathers.

  10. #10
    ridvann is offline Member
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    Default Re: 'of' and 's'

    NOT A TEACHER

    When spoken, with no pause for the comma:

    - Who did you buy the pencils from?
    - From Tom and Linda's father.

    1) I bought one of the pencils from Tom ,and I bought the other from Linda's father.
    2) I bought the pencils from the father who is the father of both Tom and Linda.

    Actually, it depends on the contex we will read. Am I right?

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