'Ask a native speaker' thread
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Osweo
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Post: #21
RE: 'Ask a native speaker' thread
(2013 Nov 08 19:05)Whiteruthenian Wrote:  [*]That woman over there is a friend of my sister's.[/list]

The question is: is the word combination 'of my sister', without the 's, never correct?

Hmm.... Hmm... "She's a friend of my sister." ... Doesn't sound so bad... Dunno about 'correct' or 'incorrect', but I think native speakers say this all the time, actually. The one with the genitive feels 'better' or 'fuller', though.

Sometimes a non-native philologist is better to ask, after all. I'll go speak to Mrs. Osweo. Big Grin

...

She doesn't like it. thumbs up

"And now if a whole nation fell into that? In such a case, I answer, infallibly they will return out of it. For life is no cunningly-devised deception or self deception, it is a great truth that thou art alive, that thou hast desires, necessities: neither can these subsist and satisfy themselves on delusions, but on fact. To fact, depend on it, we shall come back: to such fact, blessed or cursed, as we have wisdom for."
Thomas Carlyle
2013 Nov 09 00:47
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Aemma
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Post: #22
RE: 'Ask a native speaker' thread
(2013 Nov 08 19:05)Whiteruthenian Wrote:  Raymond Murphy writes:

Quote:We say 'a friend of mine/yours/his/hers/ours/theirs' (not 'a friend of me/you/him' etc.)
  • I'm going to a wedding on Saturday. A friend of mine is getting married. (not 'a friend of me')
  • We went on holiday with some friends of ours. (not 'some friends of us')
  • Michael had an argument with a neighbour of his.
  • It was a good idea of yours to go swimming this afternoon.
In the same way we say 'a friend of Tom's', 'a friend of my sister's' etc.
  • It was a good idea of Tom's to go swimming.
  • That woman over there is a friend of my sister's.

The question is: is the word combination 'of my sister', without the 's, never correct?

No, without the " 's " would always be wrong since you need the apostrophe "s" to indicate the possessive case, as are the pronouns "mine", "yours", "theirs", etc. So the correct way is always with the " 's ".

~Be the Virtuous Man or Woman you are meant to be.~
2013 Nov 09 05:27
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Osweo
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Post: #23
RE: 'Ask a native speaker' thread
(2013 Nov 09 05:27)Aemma Wrote:  to indicate the possessive case,
We already have the 'of' for that, though.
Notice how we often say 'a friend of the family'. The fact that I don't find the 'wrong' usage here so offensive, is probably cos I'm making analogies with that usage.

"And now if a whole nation fell into that? In such a case, I answer, infallibly they will return out of it. For life is no cunningly-devised deception or self deception, it is a great truth that thou art alive, that thou hast desires, necessities: neither can these subsist and satisfy themselves on delusions, but on fact. To fact, depend on it, we shall come back: to such fact, blessed or cursed, as we have wisdom for."
Thomas Carlyle
2013 Nov 09 19:11
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Post: #24
RE: 'Ask a native speaker' thread
(2013 Nov 09 19:11)Osweo Wrote:  
(2013 Nov 09 05:27)Aemma Wrote:  to indicate the possessive case,
We already have the 'of' for that, though.

We already have the "of" when using the possessive pronouns "mine", "yours", "theirs" etc. and yet we indicate the possessive case with the use of a possessive pronoun or a qualified (possessive) noun. So I'm not sure how the use of the word "of" really makes an argument in any real way.

Ossi Wrote:Notice how we often say 'a friend of the family'. The fact that I don't find the 'wrong' usage here so offensive, is probably cos I'm making analogies with that usage.

Ok I get that. But that example might or might not be an anomaly where it should rather read "a friend of the family's" but over time popular usage has chosen to drop the possessive apostrophe "s"? I dunno. Change the word family to anybody's proper name and it doesn't sound quite right to say "A friend of Peter" but "a friend of Peter's" sounds better. Unless of course there is a rule which states that a collective noun, as is the word "family", can drop the apostrophe "s". But then again switch the word "family" for any other collective noun, such as the word "congregation" or "group" and there again "a friend of the congregation's" or "a friend of the group's" sound much better to my ears.

But in the above examples offered by WR, it is still the more correct way to denote the possessive case with the apostrophe "s" in those specific instances.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it! Tongue

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2013 Nov 09 19:44
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Arnau
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Post: #25
RE: 'Ask a native speaker' thread
Double possessives hurt my aficionado linguist eyes almost as much as double negatives, but apparently they are correct and even have some literary tradition. And as Mrs Wikipedia says, it is true that it can be useful to specify possession in sentences such as a picture of the king's, although I'd say the context makes it clear enough 95% of the time.
2013 Nov 09 19:57
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W. R.
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Post: #26
RE: 'Ask a native speaker' thread
(2013 Nov 09 19:57)Arnau Wrote:  And as Mrs Wikipedia says, it is true that it can be useful to specify possession in sentences such as a picture of the king's, although I'd say the context makes it clear enough 95% of the time.

'A picture of the king's' = 'a picture with the king in it' and 'a picture that belongs to the king', right?

[...] just as it is not left unto us to choose our ancestors, so we may not choose our nation; we can only fulfil, or not fulfil, the obligations that come from being a member of our people’.
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2013 Nov 09 20:10
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Post: #27
RE: 'Ask a native speaker' thread
(2013 Nov 09 19:57)Arnau Wrote:  Double possessives hurt my aficionado linguist eyes almost as much as double negatives, but apparently they are correct and even have some literary tradition. And as Mrs Wikipedia says, it is true that it can be useful to specify possession in sentences such as a picture of the king's, although I'd say the context makes it clear enough 95% of the time.


Well context may offer something but surely you'd agree that to say "a picture of the king" and "a picture of the king's" mean two entirely different things?

I don't see how double possessives are an affront to anything really, Arnau. It's commonplace enough in the English language. I wonder if it is equally commonplace in other Germanic languages? Maybe Phleggy, Aptr, Cinnamon can speak to this?

Of course we don't have much of that in French as far as I can remember. It would be odd to say "mes mitaines à moi" and entirely redundant. Although in my part of the world it's not redundant at all to say something like "leurs maisons à eux" for instance. It's possible that it's horrible French grammatically but it's not unheard of to use double possessives here in vernacular Québécois again depending on context and what is actually being said.

To show how double possessives are so ingrained in the English language though, what one notices here in Anglophone school children learning French is their constant difficulty in getting the notion that possessive pronouns are adequate enough in and of themselves in the French language and that double possessives are not the convention. Among students of French, many make the mistake of transposing a convention of the double negative in French and indeed would say "mes mitaines à moi". thinking in English as opposed to in French. Oh well...c'est la vie.

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2013 Nov 09 20:22
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Post: #28
RE: 'Ask a native speaker' thread
(2013 Nov 09 20:10)Whiteruthenian Wrote:  
(2013 Nov 09 19:57)Arnau Wrote:  And as Mrs Wikipedia says, it is true that it can be useful to specify possession in sentences such as a picture of the king's, although I'd say the context makes it clear enough 95% of the time.

'A picture of the king's' = 'a picture with the king in it' and 'a picture that belongs to the king', right?

Well the first one would be correct in that instance if the apostrophe "s" is being used as a contraction of the verb "is" as in " a picture of the king's hanging in the Parliament building" which would be the equivalent if "a picture of the king is hanging in the Parliament building".

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2013 Nov 09 20:27
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Post: #29
RE: 'Ask a native speaker' thread
(2013 Nov 09 20:22)Aemma Wrote:  I don't see how double possessives are an affront to anything really, Arnau. It's commonplace enough in the English language.

A matter of habit, I guess. Just like using double negatives. Or the redundant use of pronouns in some Romance languages.
2013 Nov 09 20:33
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Post: #30
RE: 'Ask a native speaker' thread
(2013 Nov 09 20:27)Aemma Wrote:  Well the first one would be correct in that instance if the apostrophe "s" is being used as a contraction of the verb "is"

Phew... I began to think that something is really wrong with my idiolect of the English language. Big Grin

[...] just as it is not left unto us to choose our ancestors, so we may not choose our nation; we can only fulfil, or not fulfil, the obligations that come from being a member of our people’.
© Dr. Jan Stankievič ‘From the History of Belarus’

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2013 Nov 09 20:38
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