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    • Join Date: Apr 2008
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    #1

    plural or singular

    There were hundreds of bird's nests in the trees.
    There were hundreds of birds' nests in the trees.

    Which is correct?

  1. bhaisahab's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: plural or singular

    There were hundreds of bird's nests in the trees. This reads like there is someone or something called 'bird' who/which has hundreds of nests.
    There were hundreds of birds' nests in the trees. This, I suppose, is technically correct, but personally I am not sure one can attribute ownership to birds.


    • Join Date: Apr 2008
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    #3

    Re: plural or singular

    Quote Originally Posted by bhaisahab View Post
    There were hundreds of bird's nests in the trees. This reads like there is someone or something called 'bird' who/which has hundreds of nests.
    There were hundreds of birds' nests in the trees. This, I suppose, is technically correct, but personally I am not sure one can attribute ownership to birds.
    Thanks, Bhaisahab. But as far as I understand, sometimes it's not the idea of possession but that of quality which is expressed by the possessive case. E.g. A boys' school (=a school for boys), a ladies' room (=a room for ladies), etc. Could it be the same case with "birds' nests"?

  2. bhaisahab's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: plural or singular

    Yes, I suppose it could.

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