A mistake of someone's is not polite to laugh at

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slovac

Senior Member
Could you tell me please whether a construction created in my head is correct?

A mistake of someone's is not polite to laugh at.

I would like to express by the construction that it is not polite that people laugh at when someone makes a mistake.

Thank you.
 
  • owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    The grammar of your sentence looks possible, but the sentence looks fairly strange. I'd expect to hear or read this version: It's not polite to laugh at somebody's mistakes.
     

    Elwintee

    Senior Member
    England English
    I suggest the sentence looks a bit weird because there are two indicators of the genitive: of and someone's. We can either say 'someone's mistake' (the usual form) or 'mistake of someone' (not so usual, but possible depending on the context).
     

    slovac

    Senior Member
    I suggest the sentence looks a bit weird because there are two indicators of the genitive: of and someone's. We can either say 'someone's mistake' (the usual form) or 'mistake of someone' (not so usual, but possible depending on the context).
    I read that my usage is a high level usage. Have you never seen it?
     

    slovac

    Senior Member
    The grammatical case I used is taught at advanced level. I read that only real lovers of English use it. It is not used in common English (my source I learn from says it).
     

    slovac

    Senior Member
    If you are interested in English teaching process I would like to inform you that the grammar case used by me is often in English level tests and the double genitive answer is expected to be chosen. First time I chosed an asnwer without 's and I was wrong :(.
    So maybe I should recommend authors of tests to visit this page in order to obtain useful advices. :)
     

    lucas-sp

    Senior Member
    English - Californian
    "A mistake of someone's" is totally possible - this double-genitive is not ungrammatical. Compare to "a friend of Nick's" (or "a friend of mine"), "an affair of hers," "a speech of Obama's," "a partner of the company's," etc. etc.

    But still "A mistake of someone's" sounds awkward. I don't know where you heard, slovac, that
    my usage is a high level usage.
    and that
    only real lovers of English use it. It is not used in common English (my source I learn from says it).
    "A friend of Nick's" is very everyday, basic-level English.But "an X of Y's" means "one of the X-es belonging to Y / that Y has." That's not quite what you mean in the sentence with "somebody."
     

    slovac

    Senior Member
    Thank you for your correction. I am not native so I had not known that I could not use it in that case.
    I just applied learned rule - it is only one way to learn English for no natives not living in a country in which English is official language and stay mentally healthy :)
     
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