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ESL forum > Ask for help > grammar question     

grammar question


grammar question

The question concerns genetive case. I understand why we use the apostrophe before "s" as in women s skirt or children s toy BUT

I do not quite get why there is an apostrophe after "s" in
thieves car or wive s party.
I am in the dark. Can you explain this grammar point to me?

19 Nov 2012      

efty charle

When the word is in plural, it finishes with s, right? So you put the word in plural thieves, wives, pupils, etc. and add the apostrophe after s.

The pupils books are on the floor. (a lot of pupils books)
The pupil s books are on the floor. (one pupil s books)
The thief s gun is on the floor.
The thieves guns are on the floor. 

19 Nov 2012     


yeah, I got that far but the question was why we do not write/ place an apostrophe before "s"
thieve s gun or wive s book
in other words: why do  we use the apostrophe before "s" not after "s" since we say children s book or mice s toy. Both book and toy are in singular as you know

19 Nov 2012     


both of your examples refer to plural nouns and genitive. but because women and children are irregular nouns, they don t end in s . so, you can add " s "for genitive. but for regular nouns, if we used " s" after the plural s you would have no way to differentiate them in pronunciation. so, logic says one is not necessary. because you can t change the words to singular, as it would change the meaning, you give up the s after the apostrophe.

at least that s how I explain it to the children

hope it helped you!

19 Nov 2012     


Because the genitive case ( s) isn t a plural form. Many plural words that are also possesives are written with only the because to repeat the s would be redundant and it often makes the word harder to say; hence The wives instead of the wives s. 

19 Nov 2012     


The possessive case is used AFTER a noun. Notice the rules:
Singular noun /name + s (even if the proper name ends in "s")
The boy s bike is new.
James s bike is new. / Mary s bike is new.
Plural noun without "s" + s
The children s toys are in the box. / The women s clothes are on the left.
Plural noun with "s" +
My parents house is big and comfortable.
I have just corrected my students essays.
Two nouns or names - after the last noun/name
That is the boy and the girl s new computer. / This is John and Anne s CD.
With objects we usually use "of"
The colour of the house is white.
Hope this helps you! Smile

19 Nov 2012     


Now I got it! thank you very much for your invaluable help!

19 Nov 2012