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#180673 - 12/04/08 12:25 PM at my sister's, of my sister's.  
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BranShea Offline
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Here's a little thing I longtime wanted to ask. You say:

I will be at my sister's.
She's a friend of my sister's.

In the first sentence this seems clearly to mean: "At my sister's " house or place.
The second form always struck me as odd. "a friend of my sister's" ... what?

Maybe I am making mistakes here, but I just would like to know the details about this. (thanks)

#180674 - 12/04/08 01:16 PM Re: at my sister's, of my sister's. [Re: BranShea]  
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It's called a double genitive (link). Michael Quinion opines (link) about it. The MWDEU is also a good reference (link).


Ceci n'est pas un seing.
#180676 - 12/04/08 01:35 PM Re: at my sister's, of my sister's. [Re: zmjezhd]  
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I would just say "a friend of my sister." no possessive.


formerly known as etaoin...
#180679 - 12/04/08 03:10 PM Re: at my sister's, of my sister's. [Re: Buffalo Shrdlu]  
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Thanks both of you's. smile Then it ws my old school English that put it in my head like that. It is simply oldfashioned, allright. A friend of my sister, just like that from now on.

#180685 - 12/04/08 08:53 PM Re: at my sister's, of my sister's. [Re: BranShea]  
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... and "my sister's friend".

It works well for "friend" (possibly due to the assumption the friend relationship is reciprocal?). but "A picture of my sister" might depict my sister and belong to me or anyone, while "a picture of my sister's" would show anything and belong to her.

#180686 - 12/04/08 10:48 PM Re: at my sister's, of my sister's. [Re: Myridon]  
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Ha, yes, I see. I see . There is a difference in meaning when you consider the picture sentence. But what is odd is the 's'.

A picture of my sister's. The s looks like a leftover from his.
"My sister his picture". But then my sister is a her. Then I do understand you can't write or say " my sister'r picture".
You could say though: "my brother's picture = " my brother his picture", hey ho ! Sinking deeper and deeper in the mud. eek

#180688 - 12/05/08 01:11 AM Re: at my sister's, of my sister's. [Re: BranShea]  
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Originally Posted By: BranShea


A picture of my sister's. The s looks like a leftover from his.
"My sister his picture". But then my sister is a her. Then I do understand you can't write or say " my sister'r picture".
You could say though: "my brother's picture = " my brother his picture"


This is a commonly held misunderstanding of the origin of the 's possesive marker in English. It really comes from one of the most common OE inflexional endings for the genitive singular.

#180694 - 12/05/08 03:55 AM Re: at my sister's, of my sister's. [Re: BranShea]  
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The only basic mistake you're making Bran is to expect logic or consistency from the English language!

#180723 - 12/06/08 11:28 PM Re: at my sister's, of my sister's. [Re: The Pook]  
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This reminds me of the discussion of earlier this year concerning where do Churches come up with things like: " at
St. Bernard's". St. Bernard is dead, cannot be a possessive.
Yet even at the Vatican it is St. Peter's Basilica, in London it is St. Paul's. Someone mentioned the 'genitive' case above: which
as I understand it, indicates 'possession', yet a dead saint cannot possess a Church, etc.etc.etc. I like Pook's comment: don't expect consistence in the English language.


----please, draw me a sheep----
#180724 - 12/07/08 03:03 AM Re: at my sister's, of my sister's. [Re: LukeJavan8]  
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Yep, we've been through this before. The genitive covers more than just possession, despite the modern tendency to call it the possessive. You might say, for example, my brother's parole officer. Doesn't mean you brother owns the parole officer.

As to questions about a friend of my sister's, ask yourself this: Would you say a friend of me or a friend of mine.

#180739 - 12/08/08 06:29 PM Re: at my sister's, of my sister's. [Re: Faldage]  
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OK. None of the languages is consistantly logic,I guess. Right. Of mine is funny too. Better drop the thing then as more and more of these illogical things will turn up.
How can language be logic as we aren't either. (not wanting to offend the totally logic person, whoever he/she might be, on this board )
I still have a totally unreliable computer situation. So I salute you all. Till the next five mites may turn up.

Last edited by BranShea; 12/08/08 06:30 PM.
#180742 - 12/09/08 12:48 AM Re: at my sister's, of my sister's. [Re: BranShea]  
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I thought of another example of the genitive not indicating possession:

"There is a red Ford pickup truck in the parking lot blocking access to the loading area. Will the truck's owner please report to customer service."

#180743 - 12/09/08 01:12 AM Re: at my sister's, of my sister's. [Re: Faldage]  
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So, the parking lot is blocking access to the loading area? Why is the truck taking the blame? wink

#180747 - 12/09/08 11:22 AM Re: at my sister's, of my sister's. [Re: twosleepy]  
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Originally Posted By: twosleepy
So, the parking lot is blocking access to the loading area? Why is the truck taking the blame? wink


Uh-huh. What's the word for someone who exhibits willful misunderstanding?

#180748 - 12/09/08 12:42 PM Re: at my sister's, of my sister's. [Re: Faldage]  
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Originally Posted By: Faldage
Originally Posted By: twosleepy
So, the parking lot is blocking access to the loading area? Why is the truck taking the blame? wink


Uh-huh. What's the word for someone who exhibits willful misunderstanding?


Faldage?


/snicker


formerly known as etaoin...
#180760 - 12/09/08 05:12 PM Re: at my sister's, of my sister's. [Re: Faldage]  
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I like that 'truck's owner' genitive. Good one.
And: would it be "my friend and me went to the store".
Me went to the store????
We have definitely been thru this before.


----please, draw me a sheep----
#180761 - 12/09/08 05:12 PM Re: at my sister's, of my sister's. [Re: LukeJavan8]  
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You guys must do this all day long to become "carpal tunnel".


----please, draw me a sheep----
#180770 - 12/09/08 06:09 PM Re: at my sister's, of my sister's. [Re: LukeJavan8]  
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Well Javaneight, I don't think me ever made seven posts a day. grin
But it s a somewhat addictive business.

#180773 - 12/09/08 07:27 PM Re: at my sister's, of my sister's. [Re: LukeJavan8]  
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Originally Posted By: LukeJavan8
You guys must do this all day long to become "carpal tunnel".


heh

I've been here 5 and a half years, so... it adds up.

: )


formerly known as etaoin...
#180779 - 12/10/08 12:16 AM Re: at my sister's, of my sister's. [Re: Buffalo Shrdlu]  
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Originally Posted By: etaoin
Originally Posted By: Faldage
Originally Posted By: twosleepy
So, the parking lot is blocking access to the loading area? Why is the truck taking the blame? wink


Uh-huh. What's the word for someone who exhibits willful misunderstanding?


Faldage?


/snicker


Uh-huh.

So lessee, how could I have worded it so y'all couldn't possibly distort the meaning. The original was:
Quote:
"There is a red Ford pickup truck in the parking lot blocking access to the loading area."


How about :

"There is a red Ford pickup truck blocking access to the loading area in the parking lot."

No, that makes it sound like the loading area is in the parking lot.

How about:

"In the parking lot there is a red Ford pickup truck blocking access to the loading area."

Well, that's a little awkward, isn't it.


How about:

"There is a red Ford pickup truck in the parking lot blocking access to the loading area."

Yeah, that's it. Wait a minute, that's the original. Hmm.

And who's blaming anyone, or thing?

#180785 - 12/10/08 01:09 AM Re: at my sister's, of my sister's. [Re: Faldage]  
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"There is a red Ford pickup truck in the parking lot, blocking access to the loading area."

Works for me...

#180787 - 12/10/08 02:10 AM Re: at my sister's, of my sister's. [Re: twosleepy]  
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You got it! And you can easily hear the comma over the mall's public address system, too.

#180794 - 12/10/08 03:21 AM Re: at my sister's, of my sister's. [Re: Faldage]  
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"There is a red Ford pickup truck blocking access to the loading area."

There. smirk

#180796 - 12/10/08 03:29 AM Re: at my sister's, of my sister's. [Re: Faldage]  
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कहीं &...
Originally Posted By: Faldage
I thought of another example of the genitive not indicating possession:

"There is a red Ford pickup truck in the parking lot blocking access to the loading area. Will the truck's owner please report to customer service."


This reminded me of a recent post at LanguageLog
Believed to be an F-18

#180800 - 12/10/08 11:28 AM Re: at my sister's, of my sister's. [Re: latishya]  
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Originally Posted By: latishya


Another case where it seems to me to be a lot of effort involved in misunderstanding it.

#180808 - 12/10/08 04:28 PM Re: at my sister's, of my sister's. [Re: Faldage]  
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As long as it is not my red truck blocking anything, I'm Ok with it.


----please, draw me a sheep----
#180809 - 12/10/08 04:30 PM Re: at my sister's, of my sister's. [Re: LukeJavan8]  
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Thanks you guys for your responses on Carpal Tunnel.
I go to this sight before opening any of my daily emails. I see what you mean by addictive. By the way, I hear there is a
Computerusers Anonymous, similar to AA.


----please, draw me a sheep----
#180818 - 12/10/08 08:04 PM Re: at my sister's, of my sister's. [Re: Faldage]  
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कहीं &...
Originally Posted By: Faldage
Originally Posted By: latishya


Another case where it seems to me to be a lot of effort involved in misunderstanding it.


When I read that piece I thought the misunderstanding was deliberate and for humorous effect rather than nitpicking.

#180819 - 12/10/08 09:21 PM Re: at my sister's, of my sister's. [Re: latishya]  
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I think I may be missing something Latishya, I just read the
piece you referred to re; the Fl8. And now they have found another victim. But referring the reporting by the media. I have found that they hardly ever use correct grammar. But it is mostly hype anyway, just to sell their story for more advertising money, witnessed by some phrase like "first exclusively reported here on this station". So I am not surprised by anything the media say.


----please, draw me a sheep----
#181525 - 01/07/09 12:53 PM Re: at my sister's, of my sister's. [Re: Faldage]  
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Originally Posted By: Faldage
Originally Posted By: latishya


Another case where it seems to me to be a lot of effort involved in misunderstanding it.

Working closely with US Air Force pilots, they often "become one with the aircraft" and feel the ship is just an extension of their human body!!


"I am certain there is too much certainty in the world" -Michael Crichton
#181533 - 01/07/09 05:24 PM Re: at my sister's, of my sister's. [Re: ParkinT]  
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I believe it, emotional attachment.


----please, draw me a sheep----
#204467 - 02/01/12 03:39 PM Re: at my sister's, of my sister's. [Re: ]  
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Hi -back at you. Welcome.


----please, draw me a sheep----
#204490 - 02/04/12 12:34 PM Re: at my sister's, of my sister's. [Re: LukeJavan8]  
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Good to have you here, zeun. We're a mad bunch, but mostly harmless!


I'm immortal until proven otherwise
#204494 - 02/04/12 04:41 PM Re: at my sister's, of my sister's. [Re: Rhubarb Commando]  
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Be careful with that statement RC.


----please, draw me a sheep----
#204505 - 02/05/12 03:01 PM Re: at my sister's, of my sister's. [Re: LukeJavan8]  
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Careful? Me? C'mon, now - I have a reputation to maintain.


I'm immortal until proven otherwise
#204510 - 02/05/12 07:01 PM Re: at my sister's, of my sister's. [Re: BranShea]  
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Incidentally, getting back to the original question:
Back when case meant something in English and we actually marked it in nouns different prepositions took different cases in their noun objects. We have dumped all case markings in nouns except the genitive. So, the one case where it is shown we think is abnormal. Really, it's all the instances where it's not shown that are the abnormal ones.

#204512 - 02/06/12 06:56 AM Re: at my sister's, of my sister's. [Re: BranShea]  
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I dug up the initial post
Originally Posted By: BranShea
Here's a little thing I longtime wanted to ask. You say:

I will be at my sister's.
She's a friend of my sister's.

In the first sentence this seems clearly to mean: "At my sister's " house or place.
The second form always struck me as odd. "a friend of my sister's" ... what?

Maybe I am making mistakes here, but I just would like to know the details about this. (thanks)

I reread the Michael Quinion article from Jim's link and keep on using the double genitive anyway as it's stuck in my head since schooldays. > link

#220035 - 01/27/15 11:04 AM Re: at my sister's, of my sister's. [Re: BranShea]  
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Originally Posted By: BranShea
I dug up the initial post
Originally Posted By: BranShea
Here's a little thing I longtime wanted to ask. You say:

I will be at my sister's.
She's a friend of my sister's.

In the first sentence this seems clearly to mean: "At my sister's " house or place.
The second form always struck me as odd. "a friend of my sister's" ... what?

Maybe I am making mistakes here, but I just would like to know the details about this. (thanks)

I reread the Michael Quinion article from Jim's link and keep on using the double genitive anyway as it's stuck in my head since schooldays. > link



"a friend of my sister" is good.


live in the moment
#221425 - 06/28/15 01:44 PM Re: Double genitive [Re: BranShea]  
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I have been looking back over this discussion, and there is one possible explanation that no-one has mentioned.

"A friend of my sister's" implies that my sister has two or more friends and we are referring to one of them. So we mean "a friend of [= from among] my sister's friends".

"Of" here means not "belonging to my sister's friends" but "part of the group of her friends". This is why we cannot say "the friend of my sister's" there cannot be a group if she has only one friend.

So I think the double genitive is perfectly logical.

#221568 - 07/11/15 10:23 PM Re: Double genitive [Re: A C Bowden]  
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Thank you, A C. That's my sense of the thing exactly.

#221741 - 07/31/15 03:45 PM Re: Double genitive [Re: Tromboniator]  
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Hi ..when I saw the ref. to Gen. in the summary/contents page just now, I clicked and read the several most recent entries above ..Hope you won't mind my intruding to ask whether you've ever looked at something that makes me cringe whenever (increasingly frequently) I see it in print (usu. NYT) .to me, it's like fingernails on a chalkboard ..i.e., the use of the term ..

He (or she) is friends with ...Over the years, I'd written to Bill Safire, RIP, and various others at NYT to ask how agreement of subj./noun-pronoun number gets overlooked by alleged professionals; I've asked if they'd say 'he was enemies with..'

I hope this doesn't convey the impression I have little on my mind (if only because the truth hurts!) ..Thanks! joe (sorry to intrude)

Last edited by endymion6; 07/31/15 03:46 PM.
#221749 - 08/01/15 02:46 AM Re: To be friends with [Re: endymion6]  
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I think "be friends with" is so common as to count as an established idiom.

My guess is that it originated as children's usage. It is possible that young children heard such expressions as "let's be friends" and subconsciously interpreted "friends" as a (predicative) adjective, which could be used with a singular subject also.

The usage could then have gradually spread to older age groups. But to my ear it still sounds vaguely "juvenile", despite its common use by adults.

#221750 - 08/01/15 02:46 PM Re: To be friends with [Re: A C Bowden]  
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thank you...

i agree, and really don't object to its use colloquially, as is true when i hear (and say myself) he/she is a friend of mine, as well as other similar expressions. but it nonetheless rankles me when it's in print in articles written for major newspapers & magazines.

thanks again .. happy summer!

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