Else, Elses, Else's, Elses'

Urius

New Member
English
If I were to be writing "Someone else's" which of the above words would be the correct one to write?
The same question for "Everyone else's" :)

Hello BTW! I'm an Englishman who is trying to brush up on his grammar and English skills for Uni. It's a pleasure to be here, and I hope to help people with whatever I know as well as simply ask questions.


Thanks! And take care.
 
  • Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    Always else's. Else is an adverb which in your phrase could be rewritten as someone different's (or instead's). There is no plural form for an adverb so elses and elses' are always wrong.
     

    Urius

    New Member
    English
    Sorry, I should've thought that one through before posting.

    "Everyone else's lives were going better than mine"

    Thanks Andygc :)
     
    Always else's. Else is an adverb which in your phrase could be rewritten as someone different's (or instead's). There is no plural form for an adverb so elses and elses' are always wrong.

    There is also no possessive form for an adverb, so how can there be an "else's"? The answer, of course, is that it is being used as part of a longer phrase that is being treated as a single unit. Therefore, if you can have a possessive, you can have a plural.

    I wanted to use John for this project, but my boss would not let me because he said he was looking for "someone else" who could do a better job for less money. I was told the same thing when I suggested Nancy, Bob, and Tom. I wish I knew where all these inexpensive, experienced, hard-working someone elses could be found; if we could hire them, we would all be rich in no time.

    Sorry, I should've thought that one through before posting.

    "Everyone else's lives were going better than mine"

    It is "else's" -- but note that "everyone" is singular; your sentence should be "Everyone else's life was going better than mine."
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    Therefore, if you can have a possessive, you can have a plural.

    hard-working someone elses could be found;
    You are trying to apply a logical argument to language, which is not a valid activity. I can easily find an example of a possessive that cannot have a plural - Earth's atmosphere contains nitrogen - what's the plural of Earth? Or if you are a Christian - God's mercy is infinite - what's the plural of God?

    That combination noun should be written someone-elses, not someone elses, or placed in quotation marks ... hard-working "someone elses" could be found ...

    As for the possessive in the original question, you could argue that it should be someone's else, but that is more difficult to say, so we end up with someone else's.
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    "Twenty trillion, trillion stars out there; how many Earths must there be?"

    The solution to the genitive of this type of noun phrase must be to substitute a name, "John's life was going better than mine."
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    The ability of 'else' to be an adjective depends on what authority you rely on. The OED is clear that it is only an adverb and refers to the topic in this thread
    Forming a quasi-compound n. with inflected genitive:somebody (anybody, everybody, some one, any one, every one) else's. Very common colloq.
     

    Jack Armstrong

    New Member
    English - USA
    The ability of 'else' to be an adjective depends on what authority you rely on. The OED is clear that it is only an adverb and refers to the topic in this thread

    Interesting. My old Webster's Seventh New Collegiate Dictionary states it can be both.
    As an adjective: "a: being different in identity, 'somebody else', b: being in addition, 'what else' ".

    That seems correct. "She kissed someone else." Else modifies someone and adverbs cannot modify nouns, in this case a pronoun.
     
    The ability of 'else' to be an adjective depends on what authority you rely on. The OED is clear that it is only an adverb and refers to the topic in this thread

    W-R R-H unabridged note on usage:


    • //The possessive forms of somebody else, everybody else, etc., are somebody else's, everybody else's, the forms somebody's else, everybody's else being considered nonstandard in present-day English. One exception is the possessive for who else, which is occasionally formed as whose else when a noun does not immediately follow:Is this book yours? Whose else could it be? No, it's somebody else's.//
     

    marq_andrew

    New Member
    English
    As for the possessive in the original question, you could argue that it should be someone's else, but that is more difficult to say, so we end up with someone else's.

    I think not. "Someone else's" is something possessed by anyone but me. "Someone's else" is anyone but another person. "Someone's else" could well be me. :p

    We should next dive into the meaning (or meaninglessness) of "anyone else's" versus "anyone's else" or even "anyone's else's".
     
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