Interested in Language
Anyone can share with me the use of "'s" on non-living things. Eg the table's legs are too dirty or the legs of the table are too dirty. Which is correct?
NOT A TEACHER
1. The table's legs are dirty.
2. The legs of the table are dirty.
3. The table legs are dirty.
I have checked my books and the Web. I think that the following is accurate:
a. Some experts would suggest that you NOT use No. 1. Reason: a table is inanimate (non-living).
b. BUT there is NO rule against using 's with an inanimate noun. Some experts really ( = in fact) say that sometimes
an 's is preferable to an of sentence.
c. Most experts seem to approve of No. 2.
d. Many (most?) Americans, IMHO, might really ( = actually) prefer No. 3. Why say "the legs of the table" when you
can say "the table legs"? This is a so-called noun adjunct. A noun (such as "table") is used an adjective to modify
a noun ("legs"). That is why many (most?) people would say "Close the kitchen door" instead of "Close the door of the
kitchen." I think that "Close the kitchen's door" would rarely be used.
e. I end my post with this fascinating information that I found in a scholarly Web article about the famous American
author Ernest Hemingway.
He wrote these words in one of his novels: "The ground the table legs rested on."
The article says that "the ground" = "below."
"It is used by the legs of the table to rest on."
-- How the Noun Phrases Reflect Hemingway's Style (Google).
I would use "the table legs" most frequently, then "the legs of the table" but I don't think I would ever say "the table's legs".
Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.