Interested in Language
1. That policeman is a son of Mr Taylor's.
2. That policeman is a son of Mr Taylor.
Are there any differences in the above sentences?
Last edited by Winwin2011; 03-Jul-2013 at 13:27.
That policeman is a friend of mine. A friend of his. I wonder whether "1" is really incorrect, or just so uncommon as to sound odd?
Unless someone was an adopted son of two gay fathers.
There is no universal agreement on this issue. As you can tell from this thread, this is a hotly debated topic. See also:
"Despite their apparent redundancy, double genitive constructions such as a friend of ours or no fault of Jo's are established English idiom. Grammarians since C18 have puzzled over the way the construction iterates the of genitive with a genitive inflection on the following pronoun or personal noun."
(Pam Peters, The Cambridge Guide to English Usage. Cambridge Univ. Press, 2004)A Subtle Difference
"To say you're a friend of Greg's means that Greg looks upon you as a friend. To say you're a friend of Greg means that you look upon Greg as a friend. A subtle difference. It seems that the addition of -s to . . . Greg is a way of focusing attention on [this person] as having a more active role in the relationship being expressed. Double possession has given us a way to express quite fine distinctions that we couldn't convey before. The extra marking is not overkill in this case."
(Kate Burridge, Weeds in the Garden of Words: Further Observations on the Tangled History of the English Language. Cambridge University Press, 2005)Purists and Language Liberals
"A good many of us do use some double genitives and do not notice that they are double. Some language liberals argue that in informal and casual contexts the double genitive is idiomatic and not overkill, but few editors of Standard English will be likely to let it stand in formal writing. It's either friends of my sister or my sister's friends; even in conversation, friends of my sister's may grate harshly on some purists' ears."
(Kenneth Wilson, The Columbia Guide to Standard American English, 1993)http://grammar.about.com/od/d/g/doublegenterm.htm"The double possessive is a matter of some controversy. Some insist that constructions like 'a friend of Bill's' are redundant and therefore should be avoided. Others see 'an old pal of mine' and extrapolate that, because you'd never say 'an old pal of me,' you also must reject 'a friend of Bill.'
"I say trust your ear over either dogma. 'A friend of Bill's' probably is better . . .."
(Bill Walsh, Yes, I Could Care Less: How to Be a Language Snob Without Being a Jerk. St. Martin's Press, 2013)
Last edited by Chicken Sandwich; 03-Jul-2013 at 15:18.
I am not a teacher.
[...] the postmodifier must be definite and human. [...]
There are conditions that also affect the head of the whole noun phrase. The head must be essentially indefinite: that is, the head must be seen as one of an unspecified number of items attributed to the postmodifier. Thus [1-3] but not :
1. A friend of the doctor's has arrived.
2. A daughter of Ms Brown's has arrived.
3. Any daughter of Mrs brown's is welcome.
4. *The daughter of Mrs Brown's has arrived.
Quirk et al (1985.1283)
Last edited by 5jj; 03-Jul-2013 at 22:06. Reason: typos
To my ear the first sounds more natural, and I think it the more commonly used of the two, at least where I live.