The Possessive Case

  • ’s or ’ is added to the noun. The noun may be singular (boy’s) or plural (boys’)
  • Proper names ending in –s: Archimides’ law, Sophocles’ play, Hercules’ labour, Burns’ (Burns’s) poems, Dickens’(Dickens’s) novels < [iz].
  • Note: my father-in-law’s wife, the passer-by’s remark – the passers-by’s remarks.
Sound Transformations:
[z] after vowels & voiced consonants (boy’s)
[s] after voiceless consonants (wife’s)
[iz]  after s,ss,sh,tch,x,z  (prince’s, judge’s)

  We use it with:
   I.Animate nouns:
-higher animals  (the lion’s cage, the dog’s barking)
-personal names (Mary’s car, Paul’s computer)
-personal nouns (my friend’s visit, the man’s answer)
-collective nouns (the party’s platform, the government’s policy)

II. Inanimate nouns:
-temporal nouns (a day’s work, a few days’ trip, a moment’s pause, today’s meeting, an hour’s trip, yesterday’s conversation, , )
-distance, measure (a mile’s distance, a few dollars’ worth)
-geographic names (world, country, city, town, continent) e.g. the country’s population, Europe’s future, the United States’ policy, London’s tube
-locative nouns (the island’s outline, the school’s history)
-the sun, the moon, the earth (the sun’s energy, the moon’s beauty)
-river, ocean, boat, ship (the ocean’s depth, the ship’s crew)
-car, play, newspaper, nation (the car’s engine)

III.Set Phrases
In one’s minds eye
at one’s wit’s ends
a pin’s head
out of harm’s way
to one’s heart’s content
duty’s call
at one’s finger’s tips (end)
a needle’s point
for goodness’ sake
to a hair’s breadth
for appearance’s sake
at a stone’s throw
at a snail’s pace
at the water’s edge
a spider’s web
a giant’s task
the serpent’s tooth
a fool’s errand
the bee’s sting
a cat’s paw
child’s play

IV. Group Genitive (two or more elements in which the last takes –s)
Mom and Dad’s room,
the Prime Minister of England’s residence,
mother-in-law’s funeral,
somebody else’s umbrella,
the man we saw yesterday’s son

V.Double Genitive (’s & of)
It’s the old friend of Mike’s.

VI. A Place where business, trade etc are conducted.
(We omit such words as a school, a house, a hospital, a church. Usually it’s a building or an office.)
at the bakery’s
at the confectionery’s
at the greengrocer’s
at St. Paul’s  e.g. They were married at St.Paul’s.
I was at the grocer’s and I heard she was staying at her son’s
NB! Yesterday I was at Mike’s (place) = вчера я был у Майка дома

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