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    • Join Date: Apr 2007
    • Posts: 1
    #1

    A friend of your father

    Hi! I wonder if someone can help me out. I'm confused as to the correct way of writing this: A friend of your father... or A friend of your father's.
    Thank you very much!

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • England

    • Join Date: Feb 2005
    • Posts: 2,585
    #2

    Re: A friend of your father

    Hello Sparkita, welcome to Using English!

    Both are fine:

    1. I was talking to a friend of your father's last night. He said you were an obnoxious little boy, when you were five years old.

    2. Did you say that Tolstoy was a friend of your father?

    The construction in #1 is known as the "double genitive". It's a perfectly natural English idiom, and is probably the more common of the two at least, in ordinary usage.

    Sometimes people avoid it in more formal usage; you would be more likely to find the #2 version in (for example) a serious biography.

    (To my mind, the version in #1 gives a greater sense of "a circle of friends, of which X is one". But other posters may well disagree!)

    All the best,

    MrP


    • Join Date: Apr 2007
    • Posts: 21
    #3

    Re: A friend of your father

    Quote Originally Posted by MrPedantic View Post

    1. I was talking to a friend of your father's last night. He said you were an obnoxious little boy, when you were five years old.

    2. Did you say that Tolstoy was a friend of your father?

    The construction in #1 is known as the "double genitive". It's a perfectly natural English idiom, and is probably the more common of the two – at least, in ordinary usage.
    Hello MrP,

    I was taught that instead of "a friend of my father's" we had to use "my father's friend", is there any difference? I mean, can they both be used with any context or is there a rule? I remember that I wrote a similar sentence to "a friend of my father's" and my teacher (well, she is not a native) said it was wrong.

    Thanks in advance for your help!
    Last edited by CaRpE_dIeM; 22-Apr-2007 at 19:54. Reason: There was something wrong

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