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UNIT 11 THE GENITIVE CASE1

Put the words in brackets as appropriate. 1 Examples: Emilys relations2 (the possessor + s + the thing possessed) The wolfs ears The legs of the chair3 (the thing possessed + of + the possessor) In general, we can say that we use the genitive case (s) when the possessor is a person or an animal. If not, we use the of-construction4. a b c d e 2 (Mr Smith, canoe) is superb. (the house, the windows) are of high quality. I love (your son, trainers). You can see (a cat, eyes) in the dark. Someone has just pinched (my friend, ballpoint). Examples: The boys bikes The childrens bikes The boys bike If we have a plural form ending in -s, we add only the apostrophe, as in the first example. In the second instance, children is plural, but it does not end in -s. In the third case, boy is singular, so we add s, as has been seen in the previous section. a b c d e 3 (your sister, court shoes) are gorgeous! (the schoolgirls, uniforms) are awful. (the schoolchildren, running shoes) are terrible. (the schoolboy, football boots) are inexpensive. I dont like (your friends, behaviour). Examples: the Blakes mansion Ms Woodss5 purse Cervantes novels Pythagoras Theorem Dickenss prose style The examples above are proper names ending in -s. They have the following characteristics: The Blakes is a plural noun. Ms Woods is an ordinary person. Cervantes is a well-known foreign man, who died a long time ago. Pythagoras is considered to be a classical man. Dickens is famous and died a long time ago, but he is English. Consequently, we can conclude by saying that only the apostrophe is used with classical names (Roman and Greek) and famous foreign names which refer to people who died a long time ago.

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I have to study the (Archimedes principle) for tomorrow. (Mrs Watkins, hubby) is currently overseas. I love (Dickens, novels). (James, girl-friend) is very intelligent. That is (Mr Miles, missus). Revision exercise. (Mary, pimples) depress her. (Celia, eyes) sparkled with joy. (my hat, the brim) is dirty. (the video, the romote control) is broken. (Denis, watch) is water-resitant. These are (Mr Evans, pliers). This photo was taken in (my half-brother, heyday). He became very popular in the 70s. (this house, the walls) are very old. (this book, the cover) is really exquisite. (the trunk, the lid) dates back to the 17th century. He finds (Euripides, plays) quite boring. (John, half-sister)is as meek as a lamb. (cigarettes, this packet) is American. We need five (these flowers, stems). Dont soak (the dress, the lining). (her pupils, homework) was excellent. (his dog, tail) was badly hurt in the accident. He will sabotage (your warriors, weapons). (Miss Curtis, lipstick) was stolen from her clutch bag last night. (the Browns, house) was built in the 18th century. Youve scorched (Billy, clothes)! I would like to read a little of (Sophocles, poetry). (bread, these slices) are too thin. (my chair, the back) is very uncomfortable. (his house, the walls) are paper thin. (my sister, goddaughter) is so predictable! Examples: Eve and Margarets bikinis Mr and Mrs Robertss yacht My sister-in-laws property If the possessor has more than one word, we place the genitive at the end.

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(Fiona and Elmer, ostentatious flat) is beyond their possibilities. I dont know how they will cope with the payments. (Mr and Mrs Jarvis, carrots) are from their garden. (the boys and the girls, rooms) are downstairs. (my brother and my sister, sense of humour) is fascinating. These are (Mr and Mrs White, hammocks). Examples: Shes at the doctors (surgery). Peters (pheasant) looks great. Im going to the bakers (shop).

As seen in the examples above, the thing possessed can be dropped6 if it is implicit in our general knowledge. a b c d e We need to buy some meat. Lets go to (the butcher). If you want a bunch of flowers, go to (the florist). I need a pair of glasses, so Im going to (the optician) this afternoon. My daughter is coming for dinner this evening, so Im going to (the fishmonger) to buy some fish. My toothache is very painful. I think Ill have to go to (the dentist). Examples: Tomorrows match has been postponed. The genitive also occurs with time words or phrases. a b c d e (yesterday, competition) was put off because of the weather. (last night, performance) was a complete failure. (next week, party) will be indoors, as its getting cooler. (last year, carnival) was a roaring success. (tonight, date) is especial. I think its been love at first sight. Examples: This is New Yorks tallest building/This is the tallest building in New York. This towns first cinema was built in 1937/The first cinema in this town was built in 1937. The genitive is also possible with places, mostly with countries, superlative adjectives and ordinal numbers. a b c d e 9 a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o Is (Britain, bus service) efficient? She broke (the world, record) last year. I would like to see (Italy, most ancient monument). This is (the city, first theatre). This is (the country, most recent discovery). Revision exercise. (my brother-in-law, toupee) is ridiculous. (the day before yesterday, reception) was off. I was put off by (Nicholas, manners). (the palace, the furniture) dates from the 17th century. She loves (Catalonia, way of life). She wants to open (a carpenter, workshop). (my dog and cat, food) costs very little. Were (Jesus, miracles) true? Whats (Charles, occupation)? Im not sure, but I think hes an opera composer. (my pals, bikes) are better than mine. These are (my housekeeper, keys). (her partner, words) came straight from his heart. We shall have to erase that bad experience from (our daughter, memory). (Tess, stepchildren) are a picture of health. They always won their matches thanks to (their manager, secret weapons).

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This rucksack isnt yours. Its (Eve). If my memory serves me correctly, its (Elmer, birthday). (my uncle vineyards) are the best spot to be on (one, own). (the settee, the legs) were made by me. (the rocking chair, the wood) comes from Brazil. (the day after tomorrow, dancing contest) will take place in the afternoon. (my hometown, second museum) was built on this side of the river. (Liz, alibi) isnt convincing. They like (Aristophanes humorous plays). He says that he touched (the mermaid, tail) in his dream. (that guy, pekinese) is stone-blind.

10 Examples: The firms new project is very revolutionary/The new project of the firm is very revolutionary. As a general rule, both the genitive and the of-construction are possible with nouns referring to groups of people. a b c d e (the government, intervention) didnt make much difference to what was expected. (the company, profits) are getting better at present. I dont agree with (the committee, policy). (the team, players) should consider our pieces of advice. (the party, members) are having a meeting now.

11 Examples: This is the car of the girl who bought a pair of ballet shoes yesterday evening. The moustache of the man who has a scar on his face is very uncommon nowadays/The moustache of the man with a scar on his face is very uncommon nowadays. The possessive case is not possible if the possessor is followed by that, who, etc. a b c d e Its (the day [that]7 we met, a picture). This is (the man [that] she promised to be always true to, the briefcase). Look at (the ostrich [which] you are feeding, the eyes). (the boy [that] Mary loves, the face) is very photogenic. (the person [who is] in love with him, the ring) is a snip.

12 Examples: They love Jane Austens novels/They love the novels of Jane Austen. My neighbours murder/The murder of my neighbour was silenced by the police. The sentences above do not indicate possession. In cases of this sort, both alternatives are generally possible. a b c (my ex-husband, sudden death) was a trauma to my children. I detest (James Joyce, prose). He was the most pedantic person on earth. (Shakespeare, lines) were a landmark in the theatre of

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the time. (the prime minister, election) will be difficult. (the vixen, running up and down) tired her out.

13 Examples: Its only a miles walk. Its only a stones throw (away) from here. For heavens sake! For goodness sake! Its only ten pounds worth. It happened at the waters edge. The genitive is common as well in a few expressions, such as the ones seen above. a b c d e 14 a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z (the sun, rays) are necessary for life. For (God, sake), what have you done! She told me that she had betrayed me at (death, door). They bought (twenty dollars, worth of aubergines). When she became famous, she achieved (her life, ambition). Revision exercise. He likes (Marilyn Monroe, sex appeal). For (our children, sake), please dont do it. (the president, speech) did not convince anybody. (my sister, wedding) didnt last long. This book deals with (Portugal, culture). He considers (Socrates, thoughts) very interesting. (Mrs Brooks, shopping list) is too long. Is Mexico (the world, largest city)? Now we are going to talk about (a tadpole, gills). (Peter, rancour) wont do him any good. (Bess, eggs) are always fresh. If you ask me, (John Lennon, songs) are the best. (these brogues, the sole) is very good. (the crocodile, mouth) is immense. (his ex-wife, wristband) was made in Beijing. (yesterday, showers) were beneficial to the land. I spent the night looking at (the room, the ceiling). I dont know (this word, the meaning). He ruined (his ex, career path). Someone nicked (our neighbours, hose) last night. This is (the people [who live] next door, the pet). I didnt approve of (the multinational, security measures). (the kids, survival) was due to the fact that they found a stream. (the company, enterprising attitude) will set a precedent in this sector. (this coffin, the material) will never perish. Id like to buy some (traveller, cheques).

____________________ 1 It is also called the possessive case or the Saxon genitive. 2 Compare the following sentences: This is a photograph of Glorias. This is a photograph of Gloria. Hes Nadias brother.

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Hes a brother of Nadias. The first instance implies that the photograph belongs to Gloria; the second, that Gloria is in the photograph. In the third case, we suggest that Nadia has probably only one brother; but in the fourth, that she has more than one. This construction is often called the of-genitive. Sometimes, it is possible to use the possessor as an adjective: the chair legs. Compare the following, though: A truck of vegetables (= A truck loaded with vegetables.) A vegetable truck (= A truck used to carry vegetables.) See unit 23, section 15, footnote 34. Note the pronunciation: /wudziz/ Sometimes, we not only omit the thing possessed, but leave out the apostrophe as well: Barclays (Bank)/Barclays (Bank) is very well-known world-wide. We may also say Im going to the baker, but this is less usual and better to be avoided. If we say Im going to the doctor, we mean that we are going to see the doctor; but if we say Im going to the doctors, we imply that we are going to his/her surgery. Notice that that can be left out here.

Author: Miquel Molina i Diez http://www.polseguera.org/advanced_english_grammar/the_genitive_case.php UNIT 11 - The key THE GENITIVE CASE 1 a Mr Smiths canoe b The windows of the house c your sons trainers d a cats eyes e my friends ballpoint 2 a Your sisters court shoes b The schoolgirls uniforms c The schoolchildrens running shoes d The schoolboys football boots e your friends behaviour 3 a Archimedes principle b Mrs Watkinss hubby c Dickenss novels d Jamess girl-friend e Mr Miless missus 4 a Marys pimples b Celias eyes c The brim of my hat d The remote control of the video e Deniss watch f Mr Evanss pliers g my half-brothers heyday h The walls of this house i The cover of this book j The lid of this trunk k Euripides plays l Johns half-siter m This packet of cigarettes n stems of these flowers o the lining of this dress p Her pupils homework q His dogs tail r your warriors weapons s Miss Curtiss lipstick t The Browns house u Billys clothes v Sophocles poetry w These slices of bread x The back of my chair y The walls of his house z My sisters goddaughter 5 a Fiona and Elmers ostentatious flat b Mr and Mrs Jarviss carrots c The boys and the girls rooms d My brother and my sisters sense of humour e Mr and Mrs Whites hammocks 6 a the butchers b the florists c the opticians d the fishmongers e the dentists 7 a Yesterdays competition b Last nights perfomance c Next weeks party d Last years carnival e Tonights date 8 a Britains bus service/the bus service in Britain b the worlds record c Italys most ancient monument/the most ancient monument in Italy d the citys first theatre/the first theatre in the

city e the countrys most recent discovery/the most recent discovery in the country 9 a My brother-in-laws toupee b The day before yesterdays reception c Nicholass manners d The furniture of the palace e Catalonias way of live/the Catalan way of life/the way of live in Catalonia f a carpenters workshop g My dog and cats foot h Jesus miracles i Charless occupation j My pals bikes k my housekeepers keys l Her partners words m our daughters memory n Tesss stepchildren o their managers secret weapons p Eves q Elmers birthday r My uncles vineyards; ones own s The legs of the settee/The settee legs t The wood of the rocking chair u The day after tomorrows dancing contest v My hometowns second museum/The second museum in my hometown w Lizs alibi x Aristophanes humorous plays y the mermaids tale z That guys pekinese 10 a The governments intervention/The intervention of the government b The companys profits/The profits of the company c the committees policy/the policy of the committee d The teams players/The players of the team e The partys members/The members of the party 11 a a picture of the day (that) we met b the briefcase of the man (that) she promised to be always true to c the eyes of the ostrich (which) you are feeding d The face of boy (that) Mary loves e The ring of the person (who is) in love with him 12 a My ex-husbands sudden death/The sudden death of my husband b James Joyces prose/The prose of James Joyce c Shakespeares lines/The lines of Shakespeare d The prime ministers election/The election of the prime minister e The vixens running up and down/The running up and down of the vixen 13 a The suns rays b Gods sake c deaths door d twenty dollars worth of aubergines e her lifes ambition 14 a Marilyn Monroes sex appeal b our childrens sake c The presidents speech/The speech of the president d My sisters wedding e Portugals culture/Portuguese culture f Socrates thoughts g Mrs Brookss shopping list h the worlds largest city/the largest city in the world i a tadpoles gills j Peters rancour k Besss eggs l John Lennons songs m The sole of these brogues n The crocodiles mouth o His ex-wifes wristband p Yesterdays showers q the ceiling of the room r the meaning of this word s his exs career path t our neighbours hose u the pet of the people (who live) next door v the multinationals security measures/the security measures of the multinational w The kids survival/The survival of the kids x The companys enterprising attitude/The enterprising attitude of the company y The material of this coffin z travellers cheques