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  1. #1
    Pawel 'Pj' Janeczek is offline Newbie
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    Default possessivness dilemma

    Dear all,

    I have got a conundrum as an old hand at English (7 years in Essex!). English has always confused me since I have started! Do not get me wrong, I am fluent and can enjoy a full-hearty conversation with natives (like my boyfriend). Unfortunately, the devil is in the details and there is a hell of a lot of them in Anglo-Saxon land!

    The question.

    I have a bike and somebody has stolen a wheel (I know, scumbags). Do I say:
    -somebody has stolen a bike's wheel (unlikely in my opinion)
    -somebody has stolen a wheel of the bike
    -somebody has stolen a wheel from the bike
    -somebody has stolen a bike wheel

    If you could also explain a little bit more how to tackle dilemmas like that. As one says:Dylan's bike but tree trunk (no possessiveness at all).

    Thank you!
    Last edited by Pawel 'Pj' Janeczek; 11-Nov-2013 at 09:27.

  2. #2
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    5jj is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: possessivness dilemma

    I'd say, "Somebody has stolen a wheel from my bike".

    Actually, I probably wouldn't bother with 'from my bike'. I'd be pointing to the bike, or standing over it, si there would be no need.
    Please do not edit your question after it has received a response. Such editing can make the response hard for others to understand.


  3. #3
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    MikeNewYork is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: possessivness dilemma

    Quote Originally Posted by Pawel 'Pj' Janeczek View Post
    Dear all,

    I have got a conundrum as an old hand at English (7 years in Essex!). English has always confused me since I have started! Do not get me wrong, I am fluent and can enjoy a full-hearty conversation with natives (like my boyfriend). Unfortunately, the devil is in the details and there is a hell of a lot of them in Anglo-Saxon land!

    The question.

    I have a bike and somebody has stolen a wheel (I know, scumbags). Do I say:
    -somebody has stolen a bike's wheel (unlikely in my opinion)
    -somebody has stolen a wheel of the bike
    -somebody has stolen a wheel from the bike
    -somebody has stole a bike wheel

    If you could also explain a little bit more how to tackle dilemmas like that. As one says:Dylan's bike but tree trunk (no possessiveness at all).

    Thank you!
    To your point about "tree trunk", the possessive form could be used given the right context, but in "tree trunk", "tree" is an attributive noun (one acting as an adjective). There is no context that would allow "Dylan bike" as a similar construction.

  4. #4
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    englishhobby is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: possessivness dilemma

    Quote Originally Posted by 5jj View Post
    I'd say, "Somebody has stolen a wheel from my bike".

    Actually, I probably wouldn't bother with 'from my bike'. I'd be pointing to the bike, or standing over it, si there would be no need.
    So it would be unnatural to use bike as an attributive noun and say: Somebody has stolen my bike wheel? (Even I can feel it.) In which cases canone use structures with nouns functioning as attributives? You can't say "the table leg" either, but structures of this type are possible with other nouns. What's the difference in use of such structures?


    Last edited by englishhobby; 09-Nov-2013 at 12:37.
    If I were a native speaker of English, I would never shut up.)

  5. #5
    MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    Default Re: possessivness dilemma

    Quote Originally Posted by englishhobby View Post
    So it would be unnatural to use bike as an attributive noun and say: Somebody has stolen my bike wheel? (Even I can feel it.) In which cases canone use structures with nouns functioning as attributives? You can't say "the table leg" either, but structures of this type are possible with other nouns. What's the difference in use of such structures?
    No, that is incorrect. "Table leg" is perfectly natural, as is "bike wheel". The difference is "Dylan" is a proper name.

  6. #6
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    englishhobby is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: possessivness dilemma

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeNewYork View Post
    "Table leg" is perfectly natural, as is "bike wheel". The difference is "Dylan" is a proper name.
    Table leg is OK? I thought it's a mistake!
    If I were a native speaker of English, I would never shut up.)

  7. #7
    MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    Default Re: possessivness dilemma

    Quote Originally Posted by englishhobby View Post
    Table leg is OK? I thought it's a mistake!
    Nope.

  8. #8
    Pawel 'Pj' Janeczek is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: possessivness dilemma

    table leg sounds natural but bike wheel does not. At least to me

  9. #9
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    Default Re: possessivness dilemma

    Quote Originally Posted by Pawel 'Pj' Janeczek View Post
    table leg sounds natural but bike wheel does not. At least to me
    They are both fine.

  10. #10
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: possessivness dilemma

    And natural.

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