Possessive Case - 23

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The Possessive Case. 


The possessive case denotes a possession of some object, action or quality, or the being of some condition. In the singular, it is formed by adding ’s  (= apostrophe and ‘s’) to the nominative.
 
My uncle’s business.
The king’s death.
My mother’s kindness.
My sister’s age ...

Generally it is the names of living creatures which are put in the possessive case.

The elephant’s trunk.
The ant’s industry …

It is not usual to give inanimate objects the possessive form. Instead of that we may use an adjective.
 
The colonies’ trade - Colonial trade.
Sri Lanka’s history - Sri Lankan history ...

{But the common way to express the possessive relation of inanimate things is to use the preposition ‘of ’ with a noun.

Correct.                                            
The rent of the house.                     
The title of the book.                      

Incorrect.
The house’s rent.
The book’s title. …

But there are expressions to the above rule; for we can say:

The sun’s heat.  
Sri Lanka’s ocean.
China’s plight. … 

(Above) In these cases it is the idea of personification which prevails. There are some common phrases in which this form is used.

In a week’s time.   A stone’s throw from here.
At the journey’s end.  A hair’s breadth.

The possessive case sometimes expresses apposition.

The city of Colombo. The game of Elle.
The month of February. He is a fool of a boy.

After noun ending in s or ce the final s of the possessive is sometimes omitted.
 
Socrates’ (Socrates’s) death was a tragedy.
For goodness’ (goodness’s) sake, keep quiet.

But it is now usual, especially with modern names, to retain the s after apostrophe.

Charles’s reign was a brief one.
This dressing-gown is James’s.

In the case of a compound noun or a group of words, the sign of the possessive is added to the last word.

My son-in-low’s marriage.
The queen of Sweden’s father.
Alfred the Great’s education.

When two nouns are in apposition, the sign of the possessive is added to the latter noun only.

I call at Smith the grocer’s.

But often we give the possessive sign to both nouns.

We can buy tennis shoes at Ranil’s the clothier’s.

The noun is sometimes omitted after the possessive when it can be understood as a matter of cause.
(Here house and shop are understood.)
 
I looked in at Mrs. Guwani’s. (house)
You can buy toothbrushes at Thomson & Taylor’s. (shop)

The possessive plural is formed by adding an apostrophe to the plural form.

Girls’ schools.  Ladies’ fingers. …

If the plural does not end in s, we must add ’s to it to from the possessive. 

Men’s sizes in boots are larger than women’s.
A children’s party will be held.
We heard some people’s voices.

But we often leave out the sign of the possessive, both in the singular and the plural. In these cases the first noun has the force of an adjective. 

Mouse-net. Westminster Prasad. Bootlaces. Chair-lag.  
Tiger cubes.  The school gate. Flower-vase. Paper-weight. Town hall.

Make the possessive case, singular and plural of words as many as U can.

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