possessive with apostrophe 's' verus 'of'

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snickchap

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Feb 2, 2006
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Student or Learner
Hello,

My student asked me which is better:

the stock of Citibank

or

Citibank's stock

I told him that 'Citibank's stock' is better, but I wasn't able to give him a good explanation.

For example:

The Department of Defense / The Defense Department

Are there rules for when to use the apostrophe 's' and when to use 'of'?

Are there times when we have to use 'of' and times when we have to use 's'?

Any clarification on this subject would be greatly appreciated.

SC
 

Anglika

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Oct 19, 2006
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Other
As a general guide, 's is acceptable in most cases. It can be very cumbersome to use "of the", as shown in your Citibank example.

My own feeling is that you must look at the context and structure of the text and use what is comfortable within that.

With reference to "the Department of Defence" and "Defence Department", one is the formal title of the department, the other is the colloquial alternative.
 
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