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    #1

    Possessive Case and Agreement...

    Hi, teachers:

    I have two questions:

    1. About possessive case. "The pretty little girl is his and her daughter." is a correct sentence, is it? But I'm less surer about which one of the following sentences is correct:

    The pretty little girl is Tom and Mary's daughter.

    The pretty little girl is Tom's and Mary's daughter.
    2. About agreement. When talking about a person using many different IDs on the same forum site, which of the following is correct??

    "Batman" and "Catwoman" is actually same person.

    "Batman" and "Catwoman" are actually same person.
    Many thanks in advance.

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    #2

    Re: Possessive Case and Agreement...

    Quote Originally Posted by pinbong View Post
    Hi, teachers:

    I have two questions:

    1. About the possessive case. "The pretty little girl is his and her daughter." is a correct sentence, isn't it? But I'm less sure about which one of the following sentences is correct:



    2. About agreement. When talking about a person who is using many different IDs on the same forum site, which of the following is correct??



    Many thanks in advance.
    1. The pretty little girl is Tom and Mary's daughter -- because Tom and Mary are one parental unit, more or less. If you wanted to treat them as two very separate people who happened to have a daughter, it would be better to say The pretty little girl is Tom's daughter -- and Mary's daughter as well. Note the dash in the punctuation: it marks the contrast between Tom and Mary.

    2. "Is" or "are", depending on what you mean. If you say "are", you emphasize that the same person goes by two IDs. If you say "is", you emphasize that it is one person after all.
    Last edited by abaka; 18-Nov-2010 at 06:40.

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    #3

    Re: Possessive Case and Agreement...

    Many thanks, Mr. Abaka. But new questions pop up in my head again.

    1. Regarding your answer to the possessive case question, my understanding is that when the two persons are considered as "one unit", you use only one possesive case; and I assume if they're not one unit, you use two possessive cases?? Such as:

    The bears are my and my sister's Christmas gifts. (Each of I and my sister have a bear as a gift.)
    The bear is I and my sister's Christmas gift. (The only one bear was given to both I and my sister. We share it. )
    2. Thanks for correcting me by adding "who is" into my sentence.

    When talking about a person who is using many different IDs on the same forum site, which of the following is correct??
    But I'm a bit confused. Because I keep seeing examples of "who is"s or "who are"s missing, even in news articles and serious academic writings. Such as:

    People using more than one IDs in forums should be banned.
    What's the differences between the sentences with "who is"s missing and those with "who is" in place? Any rules to follow?

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    #4

    Re: Possessive Case and Agreement...

    1. Well, now you are doing pronouns, not nouns, and their pattern of inflection is very different from that of nouns: the cases are much stronger. My always, not "I":

    The bears are my and my sister's Christmas gifts -- conveys that both you and your sister each gave one or more bears.

    The bears are my and my sister's Christmas gift -- conveys that the two of you gave a single present.

    2. I'm going purely by what sounds better.

    The "rule", as you know, is that you should be able to omit the "who is/are". However, although the omission sounds fine in People using more than one IDs in forums should be banned, it sounds just a little abrupt in When talking about a person using many different IDs on the same forum site... . Though that's a matter of style, not grammar. Perhaps the problem is that "when talking / person using" creates a jingle if the two phrases come too close in the same sentence. Anyway, now that I think about it, I was probably too strict in correcting you there. :)

    That's the problem. Good style sounds good when spoken aloud. The so-called rules are very imprecise; judgement is subjective.
    Last edited by abaka; 18-Nov-2010 at 06:43.

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    #5

    Re: Possessive Case and Agreement...

    There is nothing strictly ungrammatical about e.g. Tom's and Mary's daughter, and, in former times, both nouns would have taken the possessive marker. In contemporary speech, however, it is true that the possessive marker tends to be deleted from the first NP. Note, however - as already pointed out - that a nominative pronoun cannot function as a possessive, showing that this is simply the convenient ellipsis of a marker, and not the formal substitution of a common-case for a possessive-case noun.

    N.B. more than one ID (singular)
    Last edited by philo2009; 18-Nov-2010 at 07:55.

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    #6

    Re: Possessive Case and Agreement...

    Thank you. I missed the "IDs".

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    #7

    Re: Possessive Case and Agreement...

    Quote Originally Posted by abaka View Post
    2. "Is" or "are", depending on what you mean. If you say "are", you emphasize that the same person goes by two IDs. If you say "is", you emphasize that it is one person after all.
    I disagree.


    "Batman" and "Catwoman" are two of the names used by this person.

    We can, of course, say, "Batman" is "Catwoman".

    However, "Batman" and "Catwoman" is actually same person is not possible. We are presenting a plural subject (B and C), even if we know that they are the same person.

    Fish and Chips is popular in Britain is different. Here Fish and Chips is the (singular) name of a meal.

    "Batman" and "Catwoman" are two of the names used by this person.

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    #8

    Re: Possessive Case and Agreement...

    Quote Originally Posted by fivejedjon View Post
    I disagree. ... However, "Batman" and "Catwoman" is actually same person is not possible. We are presenting a plural subject (B and C), even if we know that they are the same person.
    We are once again in the realm of disagreements. Fivedjohn's point is absolutely true, from the point of view of prescriptive grammar. Nonetheless, people say things like "this person thinks that this and that is better" often enough that I think there's a layer of meaning discernible in the phrase.

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    #9

    Re: Possessive Case and Agreement...

    Quote Originally Posted by abaka View Post
    We are once again in the realm of disagreements. Fivedjohn's point is absolutely true, from the point of view of prescriptive grammar. Nonetheless, people say things like "this person thinks that this and that is better" often enough that I think there's a layer of meaning discernible in the phrase.
    Don't worry, abaka - this is my last post. You are right that we are in the realm of disagreements, and any more on this will confuse students (assuming that you and I haven't done so already)

    I just wanted to say that I was, on this occasion, arguing from personal feeling rather than prescriptive grammar. I don't know anyone who would produce that sentence.

    But then you probably do, so ....

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    #10

    Re: Possessive Case and Agreement...

    Hearty thanks from the confused.

    But don't worry I've been used to being confused. I always think that the inventer of the English language invented all these sophistications to confuse people on purpose. The goal was to keep people busy and less productive. Just like the God was afraid of the completion of Babel Tower.

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