his girlfriend Rachel's name vs his girlfriend’s name Rachel

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  • Biffo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Either is possible (if the punctuation is modified for the second one).


    A. Let's suppose Rachel's surname is Weiss. When he first met her, he had her name as Miss R. Weiss. He has never changed this.

    He saw his girlfriend Rachel's name on the caller I.D. [He looked on the caller ID and saw "Miss R. Weiss].


    B. This time, suppose he simply has 'Rachel' on the caller I.D.

    He saw his girlfriend’s name, "Rachel", on the caller I.D.


    EDIT
    Note that the quotation marks are important in B. See similar note in my next post.



     
    Last edited:

    Biffo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    How about this one, "He saw Rachel, his girlfriend's name, on the caller I.D."
    In this case you must change the punctuation.

    "He saw 'Rachel' (his girlfriend's name) on the caller I.D."


    It is necessary to have quote marks around 'Rachel' because, otherwise it means he is seeing his actual girlfriend!

    He saw Rachel on the caller I.D. [Maybe he sees a picture of Rachel]

    He saw 'Rachel' on the caller I.D. [He sees her name on the I.D.]
     

    Fictional

    Senior Member
    India - Hindi
    Thank you Biffo! Why have we changed the punctuation, Bingo? Will it be grammatically incorrect to use commas?
     

    Mahantongo

    Senior Member
    English (U.S.)
    To get back to your original question, the most normal, natural, common way of saying this is exactly what you saw:: "He saw his girlfriend Rachel's name on the caller ID."

    In this sentence, "his girlfriend Rachel" is being treated as a phrase that identifies the woman. You would use this same structure in other situations:

    This is my sister Anne's son, Robert (= this is Robert, the son of my sister Anne.)
    My friend John's car was stolen last night (=the car of my friend John was stolen last night.)
     

    Biffo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Thank you Biffo! Why have we changed the punctuation, Bingo? Will it be grammatically incorrect to use commas?
    I suppose you could use commas but there is no option about putting quote marks around 'Rachel'.

    "He saw 'Rachel', his girlfriend's name, on the caller I.D."

    Agreed?
     
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