The Possessive or Genitive

❒ ❒  The Possessive (or Genitive) is ordinarily used with nouns denoting Animate or Personified objects. It is generally formed by adding an apostrophe and s (s) to the noun: man, man's: men, men's Exceptions There are three cases in which the s after the apostrophe is omitted to avoid too many hissing sounds :--

(a) After plural nouns ending in s: boy's pens, bird's nests. 

["There is a laudable tendency in modern usage to omit the apostrophe, especially in plural nouns, where the nouns are adjectival without any real possessive sense: 'Boys School', 'Students Union', 'Miners Federation,' " — Good English by G. H. Vallins.]

(b) When the last syllable of a singular noun ends with s or ce and the noun is followed by "sake": goodness' sake; conscience' sake: justice' sake. (But we say also pity's sake.)

(c). Generally, when the last syllable of a singular noun begins and ends with s: Moses' laws. But, we must say, Pares's pen; Venus's beauty; Keats's poem; Dickens's novel.

❒ ❒  The Possessive of Compound Nouns or names consisting of several words, and of Nouns in Apposition is formed by adding ('s) to the last word: Governor-General's car; son-in-law's house; Azoke the Great's reign; the King of Japan's throne; Ram, my brother's house.


❒ ❒  When there are two or more separate nouns joined by and, ('s) is added to the last if joint possession is meant; but if separate possession is meant, ('s) is added to each noun:
Dutt and Ghose's firm=one firm belonging to both. 
Dutt's and Ghose's firms=two separate firms, one belonging to Dutt and the other belonging to Ghose.

❒ ❒  Nouns denoting Inanimate objects are not generally put in the possessive case. Possession in such cases is denoted by the preposition of, or sometimes by using the noun as adjective. 
Thus, we write, the door of the house" (not, house's door); "the days of winter or winter days" (not, winter's days); "the door of the cottage or cottage door" (not, cottage's door).

Exceptions — But, even in the case of Inanimate objects, the Posses sive inflexion (s) is often used with:

(i) Nouns denoting personified things: Fortune's favour, India's hope, Death's door.

(ii) Nouns denoting dignified objects: The ocean's roar, the sun's rays, the country's call.

(iii) Nouns denoting time, space, or weight: Time — a day's journey; a week's leave; three days absence.
Space — a yard's length; a stone's throw; a needle's point.
Weight— a pound's weight; a ton's weight.

(iv) A few familiar phrases for the sake of shortness :
A boat's crew, wits' end, to one's heart's content, at arm's length, the sun's rays.

❒ ❒  The Elliptical or Absolute Possessive — Nouns denoting house, shop, etc. may be omitted after the possessive case of Nouns, but not after the possessive case of Pronouns unless the words denoting house etc. have been previously used. 
Thus :
I went to Ghose's (=Ghose's shop or house). He has gone to the tailor's (=tailor's shop). 
I went to St. Paul's (=St. Paul's Cathedral). This is my book; where is yours? (=your book).

❒ ❒  Double Possessive — Both the forms, ('s) and of, are used when possession is expressed of one out of many.

A book of Ram's=refers to only one of many Ram has. 
A picture of the queen=a likeness of her.
A picture of the queen's =one of many in her possession.
The news of Ram=news about Ram. 
This news of Ram's = news that Ram brings.

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