instead of "the apple in the blue picture is good"
(are these ok)
the blue picture 's apple is good
the apple's shape is good
Last edited by Bushwhacker; 24-May-2007 at 20:51.
The cat's tail
The dog's nose
The flower's perfume
The car's exhaust
The road's surface
Anything that is in some way "possessed" by anything requires an apostrophe. I have never seen this "rule" that it only applies to humans.
There are loads of opinions on this one:
From Possessive Forms
Many writers consider it bad form to use apostrophe -s possessives with pieces of furniture and buildings or inanimate objects in general. Instead of "the desk's edge" (according to many authorities), we should write "the edge of the desk" and instead of "the hotel's windows" we should write "the windows of the hotel." In fact, we would probably avoid the possessive altogether and use the noun as an attributive: "the hotel windows." This rule (if, in fact, it is one) is no longer universally endorsed. We would not say "the radio of that car" instead of "that car's radio" (or the "car radio") and we would not write "the desire of my heart" instead of "my heart's desire." Writing "the edge of the ski" would probably be an improvement over "the ski's edge," however.From Inanimate Objects
When referring to an attribute of an inanimate object, it is inappropriate to use the possessive endings. An inanimate object such as a chair or a window cannot own anything. The relationship must be indicated by using a prepositional phrase.Therefore, we speak (and write) not about the chair’s leg but about the leg of the chair.The preposition “of” introduces a phrase that explains the relationship between the chair and the leg.Note: An above example presented “America’s heartland.” In this case, the object has been personified and the ’s ending is appropriate.From Ownership
The possessive construction should not be used with inanimate objects such as in "the room's furnishings" but it frequently is. It is better to say "the furnishings of the room." I'm afraid it is too late to stem the tide, but at least avoid it where possible.
From suffering from apostrophobia?Although inanimate objects may take the possessive form – the company’s failure – a construction using of is sometimes preferable: the failure of the company.
From Chicago Style Q&A: Possessives and AttributivesQ. I’m trying to find a definitive answer to whether an inanimate object can take the possessive form. I have been told that an object cannot possess something, so the ’s form should not be used. Instead of “the vehicle’s speed,” it should be “the speed of the vehicle.” I understand the rule, but can’t find anything here to support it.A. We seem to be having a run on questions that turn on the issue of literal word usage. But let’s think about it. If a table can’t “have” legs, where does this leave us? True, the table is probably not conscious that it possesses legs, but then does that mean it doesn’t truly possess them? If a table possesses legs in the forest, where there’s no one to see them . . . oh, wait—that’s another riddle. Seriously, I’d love to know who makes up these rules, seemingly just to drive everyone crazy. Don’t worry—your vehicle can have speed, and there’s no difference between the speed of the vehicle and the vehicle’s speed (or “vehicle speed,” if you prefer to avoid the controversy).
From The (Un)ruly ApostropheThe most basic rule is as follows: when a noun phrase cannot be paraphrased as an unambiguous "possessive" using an "of" construction, writers tend to omit the apostrophe. One of the contingencies that complicates this rule is the issue of how"possession" is determined, as well as who/what is able to "possess." In other words, humans are considered more able than inanimate objects to "possess" a given object. In the end what is inarguable is that the phenomenon of the missing apostrophe
Last edited by Casiopea; 25-May-2007 at 14:14.
These are of course opinions, and not absolute rules.
It seems to me to be one of those niceties of grammar that are designed to create dissension. If you cannot use a possessive with a non-human agent, how can you express "for the sake of your health/conscience"? And why can't an animal be seen as "possessing" the parts of its body, or indeed an inanimate object as "possessing" its constituent elements.
I can't really see myself going about saying things like "Do look at the tail of the peacock" or "Shall we brush the coats of the horses?" "clean off the surface of the cooker" - it just would be so cumbersome!
Peacocks and horses are animate.