Which are correct:
1) The teacher took the notebooks of many of the students.
2) The teacher took notebooks of many of the students.
3) The teacher took many students' notebooks.
4) The teacher took the notebooks of many students.
5) The teacher took notebooks of many students.
In '4' and '5' we don't have a defined set of students, but in '1' and '2' we do.
I think '3' could be used in either case.
In which case can we be sure that the notebooks of some of the students were not taken away?
Let us assume that some of the students in question had more than one notebook.
In which case can be tell that all the notebooks of those students were taken away?
Last edited by navi tasan; 20-Jun-2016 at 04:11.
It seems you've asked three questions.
Q1: They are all basically correct, grammatically. For me, 1) and 4) sound more likely than 2) and 5)
Q2: All (i.e. ones which include the NP many students/many of the students), although 3) could be ambiguous because many could be quantifying notebooks as opposed to students. But the apostrophe suggests the latter.
Q3: I'm not sure what you're asking. If, by those students, you mean the ones who had their notebooks taken, then there's no way to know whether they secretly had multiple notebooks.