five tons' steel, the novel's plot, the film's significance

chance22

Member
chinese
I'm now learning genitive noun, so I'm wondering whther the above expressions "five tons' steel, the novel's plot, the film's significance, science's contribution to civilization" are acceptable or shall we say "the plot of the novel" and "the significance of the film", "the contribution of science to civilization"? And how to pronounce five tons'? --i mean [z] or [zIz]--Thank you for your answer.
 
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  • b1947420

    Senior Member
    British English
    I'm now learning genitive noun, so I'm wondering whther the above expressions "five tons' steel, the novel's plot, the film's significance" are acceptable or shall we say "the plot of the novel" and "the significance of the film"? And how to pronounce five tons'? --i mean [z] or [zIz]--Thank you for your answer.
    "Five tons of steel"
    The others are correct as written. You could say "the plot of the novel" but it is a bit long-winded better to use "The novel's plot"
     

    chance22

    Member
    chinese
    "Five tons of steel"
    The others are correct as written. You could say "the plot of the novel" but it is a bit long-winded better to use "The novel's plot"
    Thank you! Is there restriction for me to use "something's..."? Is there something wrong with this expression:"The dean will be able to solve the problem of the student."?
     

    b1947420

    Senior Member
    British English
    Is there restriction for me to use "something's..."? Is there something wrong with this expression:"The dean will be able to solve the problem of the student."?
    I don't fully understand your question.
    Do you mean to say "some things"?

    "The student's problem" or "the problem student"
     

    chance22

    Member
    chinese
    I don't fully understand your question.
    Do you mean to say "some things"?

    "The student's problem" or "the problem student"
    I mean expressions like "science's contribution to civilization, story's plot", but it seems not proper to use "the table's leg"
    It's OK to use "the students' problem", but is it also correct to use "the problem of the student"?
     

    Elwintee

    Senior Member
    England English
    I mean expressions like "science's contribution to civilization, story's plot", but it seems not proper to use "the table's leg"
    It's OK to use "the students' problem", but is it also correct to use "the problem of the student"?
    I sympathise with anyone trying to learn the subtleties of English usage. I'm afraid the only answer, in addition to study, is wide reading so that you are exposed to masses of colloquial, idiomatic English.
    We use nouns as adjectives all the time (the table leg, cat fur, bath mat), but there are occasions when we would use the genitive of the noun instead:
    "The table's leg is wonky [i.e. may fall off]' - I would say this if someone had asked what was wrong with the table and I wanted to stress that the rest of the table was OK. But I could equally well have said: 'The table leg is wonky' if I felt no need to stress the part concerned.
    I would say "The cat fur on the carpet is difficult to clean off", or "The cat's fur is getting all over the carpet again". I would never say "the bath's mat", and I wonder why?
    Sorry not to be more helpful! :)
     

    panjandrum

    Occasional Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Please have a look at previous threads on this topic.
    Possessive - using 's with inanimate nouns
    Possessive - using 's with inanimate nouns.

    Nouns are used attributively, as if they were adjectives, typically when talking about a class of things rather than a particular instance.
    So, cat fur is the fur of cats in general. It is a variety of fur.
    The cat's fur is the fur of a particular cat.
    Student problems are the problems that students, generally encounter. They are a variety of problem.
    The students' problems are the problems of a particular group of students.
     

    chance22

    Member
    chinese
    Please have a look at previous threads on this topic.
    Possessive - using 's with inanimate nouns
    Possessive - using 's with inanimate nouns.

    Nouns are used attributively, as if they were adjectives, typically when talking about a class of things rather than a particular instance.
    So, cat fur is the fur of cats in general. It is a variety of fur.
    The cat's fur is the fur of a particular cat.
    Student problems are the problems that students, generally encounter. They are a variety of problem.
    The students' problems are the problems of a particular group of students.
    very useful opinions.Thank you very much. The use of a language is interesting though confusing sometimes...
     
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