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    #1

    Double Possessive

    "Double possessive" is probably a misnomer, but since I don't know the correct grammatical term, "double possessive" will have to do. My question is whether the construction that follows is acceptable in formal writing:

    "My mom's friend's son is paying us a visit."

    The alternative is wordy - "A/The son of my mom's friend is paying us a visit" - but it has the advantage of informing the reader/listener of whether the friend has one or more sons.

    Thanks!

  1. bhaisahab's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Double Possessive

    Quote Originally Posted by Jasmin165 View Post
    "Double possessive" is probably a misnomer, but since I don't know the correct grammatical term, "double possessive" will have to do. My question is whether the construction that follows is acceptable in formal writing:

    "My mom's friend's son is paying us a visit."

    The alternative is wordy - "A/The son of my mom's friend is paying us a visit" - but it has the advantage of informing the reader/listener of whether the friend has one or more sons.

    Thanks!
    I prefer the alternative. "My mom's friend's son is paying us a visit" is not wrong, I just don't like it. I find it clumsy.

  2. BobK's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Double Possessive

    I agree that it's clearer. I wouldn't call it clumsy though - so long as there are only two degrees of separation. Here's clumsy: 'My father's sister's brother's beard.'

    b

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