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Possessives

Possessives are forms that we use to talk about possessions and relationships between things and people. They take different forms depending on how they are used.

Read clear grammar explanations and example sentences to help you understand how possessives are used. Then, put your grammar knowledge into practice by doing the exercises.  

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Hello again
Can you please tell me what's the real difference between concrete and abstract noun
Like god, air,light, darkness,song..
Are they concrete or abstract nouns

Hello Samin,

Concrete nouns are generally things that can be perceived by one of the five senses (sight, hearing, touch, taste or smell). Abstract nouns are ideas or concepts which exist in the mind. Note that concrete nouns do not have to be real: unicorn, dragon and the Starship Enterprise are all concrete nouns.

I would say that all of your examples are concrete nouns, though in certain contexts some could be used as abstract nouns.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hi team,
I read in my grammar book ''Possession-'s- can not use in things'' as You can not say -notebook's cover-,but I have seen this sentence in news''America's industrial giants''Which one is true can we use -'s' things or can not we use?

Hi Yigido,

It's a good question :) The short answer to your question is yes - we can use the possessive 's for things. However, the situation is a bit complicated, and it depends on what the thing is and the context of use.

 

As you mentioned, books often teach that the possessive 's cannot be used for things. But, this is only a general pattern, not a strict grammatical rule. Words about places and countries often use the possessive 's, and so do words about companies or institutions, and words about time.

  • the country's government
  • France's most famous building
  • Apple's CEO
  • the university's reputation
  • today's schedule
  • tomorrow's weather

 

It's true that for physical objects, people tend not to use the possessive 's. People more commonly say, for example: 

  • the car door or the door of the car (instead of the car's door)
  • the bottle top or the top of the bottle (instead of the bottle's top)

Your example of the notebook's cover is another example of this. I would probably say the cover of the notebook here. But it's important to realise that even though using the possessive 's is less common, it's not impossible, and you might hear or see these forms being occasionally used.

 

In my opinion, using the possessive 's (e.g. the car's door) gives slightly more emphasis to the possessor (i.e. the car). We might use this if we want to maintain focus on the possessor, e.g. We need to repair this car's door, not that car's door. The alternative forms give slightly more emphasis to the thing that is possessed (i.e. the door in the car door or the door of the car), so we might use this if there's no need to emphasise the possessor, e.g. We need to repair the car door, not the window.

Does that make sense?

Jonathan

The LearnEnglish Team

Yey teacher, thank you.

Sir,

I have not been able to find the page for prepositions - so this question in this section. Please provide me the link for preposition page if there is any .

My friend has expired at a very young age. In my condolence message I put this sentence :

'Not an age to leave this world at.'

I intended to end the sentence with preposition. What I mean is it is sad that he had to leave this world at this age.

But I feel that I am erring in thew construction - it is wrong to end with 'at'.

Please guide me and explain what this 'at' associates with in this sentence.

Regards

Dipak Gandhi

Hi dipakrgandhi,

Thanks for your question. We don't have a specific section for prepositions at the moment.

First of all, condolences for the loss of your friend.

Your sentence ending with at is a correct sentence. At relates to the noun age earlier in the sentence. 

Traditionally, it is sometimes taught that we should not end a sentence with a preposition, as you mention. However, speakers and writers actually do this very often, especially in everyday language use, so your sentence is perfectly acceptable.

You could rephrase it like this, e.g.: Not an age at which to leave this world. But this sounds rather more formal in style, and is unnecessary for all but the most formal situations.

Does that make sense?

Best wishes,

Jonathan

The LearnEnglish Team

Thank you - for your condolence message and for the answer !

My son has posted this comment on his college what's app group : Please pay the fees of 2 nd year.

I told him that it should be :
1) Please pay the second year fees. or
2) Please pay the fees for 2nd year.

He wants to know why "... of the second year" is wrong.
How do I explain him that it is wrong grammatically.
Please help.

Hello dipakrgandhi,

You are correct that it is not the standard way to express this, and your suggestions are much better.

I wouldn't say that there is a grammar rule which explains why your son's formulation is not correct. It's more a case of convention.

You can use of in this way: the fees of the university. When talking about the period which they cover, use forthe fees for the second year.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

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