CAE :: Lesson 26

LOS CURSOS DE INGLES GRATIS PREFERIDOS POR LOS HISPANOHABLANTES

 

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Nouns: possessive and compound forms

 

 

 

Possessive nouns express the idea of having (in a very general sense) which exists between two nouns. Let us practise this grammar below.

APOSTROPHE 'S

We normally use a possessive (+ 's) when something belongs to a particular person or thing, e.g. a person, an animal, an organization, group of people, or a place. With places we can also say, e.g. "Tomo Uno" is one of the most famous restaurants in Buenos Aires. Check below...

1.

I borrowed my father's car.

2.

I trod on the cat's tail.

3.

The company's head office is in New York.

4.

The government's decision has not been well received.

5.

"Reino del Sol" is one of Madrid's most famous restaurants.

If a name (or singular noun) finishes in s, we either add s, e.g Chris's book or put an apostrophe at the end of the word, e.g. Chris' book. With plural nouns we put the apostrophe after the s, e.g. my friends' house. With irregular plurals which don't end in s {people, children, men, etc.) we add s. If there are two people, we put the s on the second name.

6.

It's Chris's book.

7.

It's my friends' wedding.

8.

That's the children's room.

9.

The blonde girl is Alex and Maria's daughter.

When s refers to "the house of" or "the shop of", we often omit the word house or shop.

10.

We had dinner at Pablo's last night.

11.

My mother is at the hairdresser's right now.

OF INSTEAD OF APOSTROPHE 'S

We normally use an of phrase, not s, with things or abstract nouns especially when one thing is part of another.

1.

Can you remember the name of the film?

2.

My brother lives at the end of the road.

3.

The problems of old age are many and varied.

We use of to express possession with a long phrase, e.g. NOT  my cousin in Rome I told you about's sister .

4.

Helen is the sister of my cousin in Rome I told you about.

With friend, we often say a friend of + name / noun + 's.

5.

Jim is a friend of my brother's.

COMPOUND NOUNS

We use compound nouns, not possessive forms, to refer to people or things in terms of what they are for, what they are made of, what work they do, or what kind they are. The second noun is the main thing or person, and can be singular or plural. The first noun, gives more information about the second noun. It is usually singular, unless it has no singular form, e.g. clothes shop; tin opener (an opener for tins); history teacher (a teacher of history).

NOTE: Compound nouns are usually two separate words, but they are occasionally joined together as one word, e.g. sunglasses, bathroom or hyphenated, e.g. house-husband, letter-box.

1.

I need the tin opener. Do you know where it is?

2.

I bought a huge flower pot in a garden centre near my house.

3.

My brother is a company director and my sister is a history teacher.

4.

I opened the car door, got in, and put on my seat belt.

With containers, a compound noun (a wine bottle) focuses on the container (usually empty), whereas the container + a possessive noun (a bottle of wine) = focuses on the contents (the container is usually full). Other common examples are a wine glass / a glass of wine; a jam jar / a jar of jam; a petrol can / a can of petrol; a matchbox / a box of matches; etc.

5.

There was a wine bottle on the table and two empty wine glasses.

On the next page you will be able to practise this grammar.

 
 

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