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Thread: possessive

  1. #1
    rezaa is offline Junior Member
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    Default possessive

    - Lina's mother
    - the mother of Lina
    is it wrong to say the latter instead of using the possessive 's. if it's wrong can you tell me why?
    thanx in advance

  2. #2
    Anglika is offline No Longer With Us
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    Default Re: possessive

    It is not wrong, just pedantic and archaic.

  3. #3
    JJM Ballantyne is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: possessive

    Unfortunately, it is Angelika who is wrong here.

    Both Lina's mother and the mother of Lina are perfectly acceptable in English.

  4. #4
    Anglika is offline No Longer With Us
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    Default Re: possessive

    It is still pedantic to say "the mother of Lisa" rather than "Lisa's mother". Certainly I would not expect to hear it in general conversation.

  5. #5
    rezaa is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: possessive

    i found this in a book called New Headway; the writer considers it as being wrong but he/she doesn't tell why. now the book is wrong. anyway, my question is could it be a matter of formality or register even if it's considered as having a pedantic use or tone ...

  6. #6
    JJM Ballantyne is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: possessive

    Let's get something straight here. The phrase the mother of Lisa does not provide enough information to make any judgment other than it is a perfectly correct English possessive construction. There is nothing "pedantic" about it.

    Used in context, we can see that it might be more or less suitable according to the particular situation.

    In an informal, familiar context, we would not say something like:

    You'll need to ask the mother of Lisa if you can stay over there tonight.

    We'd say:

    You'll need to ask Lisa's mother if you can stay over there tonight.

    But a news item on the TV might report:

    Police are still searching for the mother of Lisa.

    Or you might say:

    You do realize that lady was the mother of Lisa, Todd's ex-wife, don't you?

    In this last example, the use of Lisa's mother would actually sound not only awkward but also ambiguous:

    You do realize that lady was Lisa's mother, Todd's ex-wife, don't you?

  7. #7
    Anglika is offline No Longer With Us
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    Default Re: possessive

    Thank you for your very clear exposition of a difficult problem.

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