Student or Learner
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
***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." )