Saxon genitive in English.
The basics - structure of Saxon genitive:
This structure is used as a way to refer to possession (possessive case). The apostrophe + s is added to singular nouns and just the apostrophe to plural nouns. The Saxon genitive is limited to (with some exceptions) people and animals (animate nouns).
My father's bicycle.
Irregular plural nouns take the apostrophe + s:
The Oxford Women's Club.
We can show a chain relationship in this way:
My father's brother's son is my cousin.
The object as adjective (adjectival genitive).
The possessive relationship between two objects can be expressed by using one as an adjective (first position) and the other as a noun (second position). The noun in second position is the thing which "belongs" to the noun.
The car [adjective] door [noun] (not, the car's door).
This structure is also used to say what type an object or a person is. This is not really a possessive relationship:
A supermarket trolley.
Genitive with the preposition "of".
When we are talking about a possessive relationship, we can often use the prepositional genitive instead of the adjectival genitive structure with the same meaning:
The door of the car.
In other circumstances, for example, to talk about the position in space or time, the genitive with of may be the only alternative:
The end of the film (and not,
The top of the bottle ("the bottle top" means a lid we put on a bottle).
However, for animated nouns, the use of the genitive with of is not usual. For example:
The house of my parents (we do not usually say this).
It is much more common to say:
The double genitive.
It is possible to combine the prepositional of genitive with the apostrophe structure:
He is a friend of my mother's.
The possessive pronoun is really a Saxon genitive without the apostrophe. So the following are also double genitives:
She is a friend of ours.
Saxon genitive - use in real life:
It is very common to see this structure in the names of the types of shop:
The butcher's (shop).
We often omit the noun shop:
Many famous department stores in London have now omitted the apostrophe from their shop name leaving just the s:
But it is still common to see the names of establishments and buildings such as:
The Saxon genitive and talking about people's homes.
We talk about the house where someone lives with this genitive:
I'm going to John's (house).
Note that we use the definite article the when we refer to the houses where families live:
Note that we usually only use the apostrophe on the last name if there are more than one:
The Saxon genitive with inanimate nouns.
It is also common to see the 's genitive with inanimate nouns when related to human activity:
The report's conclusions.
The of genitive is also possible: The decision of the committee, etc.
With place names:
Madrid's football teams.
Human activity with reference to time and dates:
With the genitive + 's, we should not use the definite article "the" with people's names or with nouns that do not usually take the article:
This is John's pen (and not,
However, we can say:
The President's men.
This is because we always use these proper nouns with the article: "I am the Queen"; "Ladies and gentlemen, the President of the United States!".
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