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  1. #1
    anhnha's Avatar
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    Default friends of his/friends of him

    Hi,

    Writer
    Arthur Koestler once remarked that friends of his, whom he had met thirty years after they emigrated to the United States, had acquired an ‘American physiognomy’, i.e. a broadened jaw, an appearance which is also prevalent in the indigenous population.

    Is the phrase "friends of his" correct?
    I think that it must be "friends of him" but I am not sure wheather the phrase "friends of his" can be used or not?
    Thank you.
    Last edited by anhnha; 24-Oct-2012 at 14:10.

  2. #2
    emsr2d2's Avatar
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    Default Re: friends of his/friends of him

    It's correct. In this construction, the possessive pronoun is used.

    Those people are friends of mine.
    She is a friend of his.

    So "He is my friend" becomes "He is a friend of mine".
    "She is his friend" becomes "She is a friend of his".
    "He is her friend" becomes "He is a friend of hers".
    "He is your friend" becomes "He is a friend of yours".
    "The girl is our friend" becomes "She is a friend of ours".

    You will have noticed something a little unusual. "Mine" and "his" remain the same as the normal possessive pronoun but in this construction, "her", "our" and "your" become "hers", "ours" and "yours".
    Remember - correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing make posts much easier to read.

  3. #3
    5jj's Avatar
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    Default Re: friends of his/friends of him

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    So "He is my friend" becomes "He is a friend of mine".
    "She is his friend" becomes "She is a friend of his".
    "He is her friend" becomes "He is a friend of hers".
    "He is your friend" becomes "He is a friend of yours".
    "The girl is our friend" becomes "She is a friend of ours".
    I, personally, feel that closer equivalents are:

    "He is one of my friends" becomes "He is a friend of mine".
    "She is one of his friends" becomes "She is a friend of his".
    "He is one of her friend" becomes "He is a friend of hers".
    "He is one of your friends" becomes "He is a friend of yours".
    "The girl is one of our friends" becomes "She is a friend of ours".

    To me, "He is my friend" can imply that I have only one friend. There is no such implication in "He is one of my friends" or "He is a friend of mine".

  4. #4
    TheParser is online now Key Member
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    Default Re: friends of his/friends of him

    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****


    Hello,



    1. The two teachers have given you the answer. If you always say something such as "Tom and Mona are friends of his,"

    you will always be speaking good English, and no one will ever question your knowledge of English.


    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****

    I have repeated the warning because the following comments (not "answers") are controversial. That is, some people

    say YES YES YES; others say NO NO NO.

    2. It may be, indeed, possible to say (in very rare occasions) something like:

    "Tom and Mona are friends of him."

    a. Some (repeat: some) people say that here's the difference:

    i. Tom and Mona are friends of his. = He says, "Tom and Mona are my friends."
    ii. Tom and Mona are friends of him. = They say, "He is our friend."

    WARNING: Many people do not buy (believe) this analysis. I am giving it to you only so that you can have a diverse

    variety of views.

    3. Study these two examples that do NOT use the noun "friend":

    a. [Mr. X] is not a fan of me. (This was said by a very well-educated columnist for The New York Times, maybe our country's most important newspaper.) What did he mean by using "me" instead of "mine"? I think that it means that Mr. X
    says, "I am not the columnist's fan." In other words, Mr. X does not like the columnist's political opinions.

    b. A famous American businessman said, "I am not a fan of him." The businessman was referring to the president of a country in the Middle East. Again, the businessman meant that he did not like that president's political policies. In other words, it has nothing to do with a personal relationship.


    James

    sources:

    1. Today's Linguistic URL groups. google. com. [I found it a long time ago on the Web and copied its information. But I cannot locate it again.] It claims that "a friend of me" = a friend of whom; "a friend of mine" = stronger sense of possession.

    2. Re: Friend of yours. www. phrases.org.uk

    3. I heard both The New York Times columnist and the businessman say those sentences on television. I was jarred (a little surprised and confused), so I immediately copied their words in my notebook.

    4. A user at another helpline named Chuncan Feng (who is a teacher of English in his country) opined that "a fan of me" means someone who would be "enthusiastic about my opinions and support me."
    Last edited by TheParser; 24-Oct-2012 at 14:05.

  5. #5
    Barb_D's Avatar
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    Default Re: friends of his/friends of him

    Quote Originally Posted by 5jj View Post
    To me, "He is my friend" can imply that I have only one friend. There is no such implication in "He is one of my friends" or "He is a friend of mine".
    You are certainly not alone in feeling this way (and the five "likes" so far attest to that), but it's not a sense that I share.

    As we say many times on this forum, our knowledge of the real world needs to color what the grammar may strictly indicate. It's not partciularly likely to me that a person has exactly one friend in the universe.

    A: So I was in Chicago on business and who do you think I ran into? Peter Smith!
    B: Peter who?
    A: Peter Smith! He was my friend in college.
    B: Oh sure, I remember you talking about Peter. What a coincidence!

    Would you think that A had only one friend in college?
    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.

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