Results 1 to 2 of 2
  1. Junior Member
    Student or Learner
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • UK

    • Join Date: Oct 2006
    • Posts: 45

    Double Possessive

    Double Possession

    Can you please help me understand the use of so-called ‘double possession’ as recommended below?

    “The appositional ‘of’ phrase must be definite (i.e. not indefinite) and human: a friend of my mother’s is idiomatic, but a friend of the British Museum's is not”. FOWLER’S MODERN ENGLISH USAGE

    First, I’m not sure what the meaning of ‘appositional’ is in this sentence – I think it refers to the two parts of a phrase saying the same thing.

    I am also unsure what is meant by definite / indefinite in this context. Is it referring to the use of ‘a’ / ‘the’?

    I mainly wish to know if the following, taken from a documentary should be possessive or not. It stated ‘he was a bodyguard of Indira Ghandi’

    According to the rules above, should this not be possessive?
    Or would it be preferable if OF was replaced with TO, if the ‘bodyguard’ is to be mentioned first, that is.

    Thank you for your kind help

  2. VIP Member
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Dec 2009
    • Posts: 6,351

    Re: Double Possessive

    ***NOT A TEACHER***Mr. Togher: (1) I think that "friend of the museum's" is not idiomatic because it is not a living entity. (2) I think "a bodyguard of Indira Ghandi's" is definitely correct because we are referring to only one of her guards. (3) I think most Americans avoid the double possessive if possible. Too many apostrophes for them. For example, most newspapers write " James' house " instead of " James's house." (4) Do remember that the double possessive is mandatory with pronouns: a bodyguard of herS. (5) Please type "double possessive" in the "search" box. You will find some great threads on this subject. Thank you. (P.S. The "rule" would have us say "The bodyguards of Indira Ghandi attended her funeral." No " 's " because -- in theory -- ALL of them attended her funeral. " 's " is used only when talking about a portion: "A friend of Tom's" because English will not accept "A Tom's friend." )

Similar Threads

  1. [Grammar] Double predicate
    By usignolo in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 10
    Last Post: 26-Sep-2009, 11:40
  2. Possessive pronouns as subjects
    By Abstract Idea in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 13-Aug-2009, 15:19
  3. meaning of single or double space
    By enydia in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 21-Apr-2008, 09:09
  4. double
    By mengta in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 9
    Last Post: 03-Dec-2006, 14:47
  5. webs related to numerical idioms
    By ngongrom in forum English Idioms and Sayings
    Replies: 10
    Last Post: 01-Feb-2006, 09:33


Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts