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    #1

    correct use of -'s in relation contexts

    For I while now I'm struggling to get the hang of the proper use of the possesive -'s in contexts that express a certain relation.

    For example:

    • "He's a teacher of my brother's" - "A teacher of my brother's once explained that to me"
    • "She's a friend of Robin's" - "A friend of Robin's told me that"
    What is the general rule for this sort of thing?

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    #2

    Re: correct use of -'s in relation contexts

    Quote Originally Posted by Baldrick View Post
    For I while now I'm struggling to get the hang of the proper use of the possesive -'s in contexts that express a certain relation.

    For example:

    • "He's a teacher of my brother's" - "A teacher of my brother's once explained that to me"
    • "She's a friend of Robin's" - "A friend of Robin's told me that"
    What is the general rule for this sort of thing?
    ********** NOT A TEACHER **********

    Hello, Baldrick.

    (1) The teachers will explain the grammar to you.

    (2) I just wanted to comment that in English people cannot say:

    He is a [one] my brother's teachers.

    So English speakers have invented

    the construction (kind of sentence): He is a [one] teacher of

    my brother's.

    (3) Maybe in some other languages, you can say:

    She is a Robin's friend. But not in English. It has to be:

    She is one of Robin's friends/ She is a friend of Robin's.

    Thank you

    *****

    Three extra ideas:

    (A) If you say "He is a teacher of my brother," that is "good"

    English, but it is not idiomatic (the way native speakers use the

    language).

    (B) Some books say that "He is a teacher of my brother's" =

    He is a [one] teacher of my brother's [many teachers].

    (C) Sometimes you may not use the 's:

    A picture of my father's. = A [one] picture of my father's [many pictures
    that he bought].

    A picture of my father. = The picture shows my father's face.

    If you have time, search this website and the Web for articles about

    the so-called double genitive.

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    #3

    Re: correct use of -'s in relation contexts

    Thanks Parser,

    And what if I have for example many brothers, as in the following example:

    "He is a teacher of my brothers' "

    I figure that the apostrophe stays, but what happens to the pronunciation?

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    #4

    Re: correct use of -'s in relation contexts

    Quote Originally Posted by Baldrick View Post
    Thanks Parser,

    And what if I have for example many brothers, as in the following example:

    "He is a teacher of my brothers' "

    I figure that the apostrophe stays, but what happens to the pronunciation?
    ********** NOT A TEACHER **********

    Hello, Baldrick.

    (1) Wow! What a great question!!!

    (2) I had not thought of that.

    (3) My immediate answer -- which, of course, could be

    wrong -- is that the pronunciation would be the same.

    (4) You have probably noticed that the great teachers at this

    website constantly advise us to pay attention to context.

    (5) For example, if someone says "My brothers car" (I purposely

    did not use an apostrophe), that could mean in conversation:

    I am talking about one brother and his car.

    I am talking about two brothers who are both owners of one car.

    ***

    If I say "My brothers cars" (again no apostrophe in speech, of course),

    that could mean:

    I am talking about one brother and the two cars that he owns.

    I am talking about two brothers and their (individually owned) cars.

    I am talking about two brothers and the cars they own together.

    ***

    (6) We agree that if you are talking about one brother, then:

    He is a [one] teacher of [among] my brother's [teachers].

    (7) If you are talking about two brothers, I think it is accurate to

    assume that the pronunciation would be the same. I do not see

    how brother's and brothers' could be pronounced differently.

    But when it comes to the apostrophe, I am not that confident. Like you,

    I guess the apostrophe would stay:

    He is a [one] teacher of [among] my brothers' [teachers].

    Hopefully, a teacher will help you and me with this.

    Thank you

    P. S. I just thought of something somewhat similar.

    I think that some people say, "I am going to the doctor" instead

    of "I am going to the doctor's [office]" because they are afraid that

    people who hear "doctor's" will think that they are hearing "doctors."


    P. P. S. How about:

    He is a teacher of my two brothers'. (When listeners hear the two,

    their minds will tell them to think of brothers' instead of brother's.)

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    #5

    Re: correct use of -'s in relation contexts

    Thanks again, Parser.

    I'm glad that at least the form exists "a teacher of my brothers' " (both my brothers) and that it's not something I made up.


    Quote Originally Posted by TheParser View Post
    ********** NOT A TEACHER **********
    P. P. S. How about:

    He is a teacher of my two brothers'. (When listeners hear the two,

    their minds will tell them to think of brothers' instead of brother's.)
    Well, that's a nice and cunning way to avoid the problem, but sadly I'm a perfectionist... I need to know everything.
    Last edited by Baldrick; 27-Jul-2010 at 07:14.

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    #6

    Re: correct use of -'s in relation contexts

    Quote Originally Posted by Baldrick View Post
    Thanks again, Parser.

    I'm glad that at least the form exists "a teacher of my brothers' " (both my brothers) and that it's not something I made up.

    The pronunciation is a bi



    Well, that's a nice and cunning way to avoid the problem, but sadly I'm a perfectionist... I need to know everything.
    ********** NOT A TEACHER **********

    Hello, Baldrick.

    (1) Thank you for your kind note.

    (2) I did not understand your sentence The pronunciation is a bi.

    Could you explain?

    Thank you

    P. S. I, too, am a perfectionist in some ways. The fact that I cannot

    understand every construction in English really bugs me.

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    #7

    Re: correct use of -'s in relation contexts

    Quote Originally Posted by TheParser View Post
    (2) I did not understand your sentence The pronunciation is a bi.

    Could you explain?
    Oh, sorry about that. That was a typing mistake. I forgot to finish my sentence. I can't quite remember how it went exactly, only that it was about pronunciation being an important factor of languages in general as after all, a langauge is primarily made to be spoken and not written.
    Last edited by Baldrick; 27-Jul-2010 at 19:00.

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