EN: payment('s) systems - possessive with objects?

Discussion in 'French and English Grammar / Grammaire française et anglaise' started by oliviafrance, Jul 5, 2006.

  1. oliviafrance Senior Member

    Sorry for my stupid question but it's been a long time since I didn't write in english.
    What is the rule for possession " 's " : should I write payment systems or payment's systems ??? And why ??
    I know it's a kindergarden's rule (did I get right ??) but I really need the information.
    Thanks a lot.
  2. Aupick

    Aupick Senior Member

    Strasbourg, France
    UK, English
    It's not a stupid question at all, but a very complicated one without a perfect answer! As a general guideline, we tend not to use 's with inanimate objects, although there are many, many exceptions that are difficult to justify.

    In your case, though, there's no problem and I would say "payment systems".
  3. Ludito Senior Member

    French, Belgium
    I would not write a genitive in that case.
    Usually the 's is used with human beings
  4. nathanbroaddus Member

    Toulouse, France
    United States English
    Both phrasings are technically correct, and Ludito is correct to say that 's is used with human beings, but also with animals (the horse's mane), whereas with inanimate objects or idea the the other phrasing is generally used (the height of the wall, the softness of a kiss) although the wall's height, the kiss' softness. That reminds me, remember that when a word ends in s or is pluralized with an s, the apostrophe is added but not the possessive s (ex. the horses' manes, Francis' bag)
  5. panjandrum

    panjandrum Occasional Moderator

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    This is mostly correct, but do not be surprised to find Francis's bag, and it will not be incorrect.
    Look for relevant threads in:
    Possessive - Where to put the apostrophe on words ending with s/z, proper nouns, inanimate nouns.

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