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    #1

    they are the socks of Tom's father

    Hi
    is it ok to say:
    they are the socks of Tom's father
    ?
    Thanks.
    Rip


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    #2

    Re: they are the socks of Tom's father

    Quote Originally Posted by ripley View Post
    Hi
    is it ok to say:
    they are the socks of Tom's father
    ?
    Thanks.
    Rip
    By analogy: This is a dress of my mother's.
    These are socks of Tom's father's.

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    #3

    Re: they are the socks of Tom's father

    Dear Clark:

    I am confused by your post. What does your analogy mean? I do not see the parallel.

    Petra


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    #4

    Re: they are the socks of Tom's father

    Quote Originally Posted by pyoung View Post
    Dear Clark:

    I am confused by your post. What does your analogy mean? I do not see the parallel.

    Petra
    This type of possessive case is called absolute possessive.
    A friend of Tom's (=one of Tom's friends)
    a car of my brother's (=one of my brother's cars)

    The difference between 'a dress of my mother's' and 'a dress of my friend's mother's' is that the latter has double possessive. In the former phrase we have 'my' as an attribute for 'mother', in the latter - 'friend's' performs the same function. I believe the latter type isn't really common. I would say: one of the dresses of my friend's mother.
    Last edited by Clark; 12-Jan-2009 at 07:27.

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    #5

    Re: they are the socks of Tom's father

    Okay, but what does that have to do with the original two posted sentences?

    1) They are Tom's father's socks.

    or

    2) They are the socks of Tom's father.


    Although #1 is far more common, they are both perfectly good English sentences.


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    #6

    Re: they are the socks of Tom's father

    Quote Originally Posted by pyoung View Post
    Okay, but what does that have to do with the original two posted sentences?

    1) They are Tom's father's socks.

    or

    2) They are the socks of Tom's father.


    Although #1 is far more common, they are both perfectly good English sentences.
    I have doubts about the second one.
    This is a book of mine. (not of me, or of I) - absolute form of a possessive pronoun.
    So why 'of Tom's father' instead of '... father's'? The construction requires absolute possessive, whether it is the form of a pronoun or a noun.

    Besides, why 'the socks'? I don't see how the idea of limitation is expressed in this sentence. Does Tom's father have only one pair of socks?


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    #7

    Re: they are the socks of Tom's father

    Quote Originally Posted by Clark View Post
    So why 'of Tom's father' instead of '... father's'? The construction requires absolute possessive, whether it is the form of a pronoun or a noun.
    Privet Clark,

    the cost of the operation
    or
    the cost of the operation's


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    #8

    Re: they are the socks of Tom's father

    Quote Originally Posted by svartnik View Post
    Privet Clark,

    the cost of the operation
    or
    the cost of the operation's
    The meaning of absolute possessive is 'one of the objects belonging to sb': a dress of my sister's = one of my sister's dresses. It is not a coincidence that the indefinite article is used with it. (There can also be 'that' in such constructions but the meaning is different: I don't like that new boy-friend of Susan's. It is used to express some strong emotions, mostly negative ones. Also 'the' is used with absolute possessive to express locality: to the baker's).
    Structures with genitive of-phrases have a number of different meanings:
    a) a container with its content: a cup of tea
    b) a certain quantity: a piece of wood
    c) part and whole relationship: the roof of the house
    d) measure: a distance of 3 miles.
    etc., etc.
    But none of these phrases has a noun in the possessive case, their meaning being different from the one I specified above (=one of).

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    #9

    Re: they are the socks of Tom's father

    The double genitive is generally confined to human referents.


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    #10

    Re: they are the socks of Tom's father

    Quote Originally Posted by engee30 View Post
    The double genitive is generally confined to human referents.
    Yes, this construction is also called the double genitive as it contains the of-genitive and the s-genitive.

    However some grammarians reserve this term for cases when a noun is modified by two successive nouns in the genitive case: Tom's father's socks.

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