John's and Mary's children

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Paulista, Mar 20, 2008.

  1. Paulista

    Paulista New Member

    Brazil, Portuguese

    How do you use the genitive case when one or several objects belong to several people?

    Case 1.
    John and Mary have a house. That is John and Mary's house.
    John and Mary have two houses. Both houses belong to both of them. They are John and Mary's houses.

    Case 2.
    John and Mary have two toothbrushes. One toothbrush belongs to John and the other belongs to Mary. Are they John's and Mary's toothbrushes?

    Other examples:

    John and Mary's children (John and Mary are these children's father and mother)

    John's and Mary's children (John has his own children whose mother is not Mary and vice versa)

    Is the above correct? I have two grammars but neither has any reference to this.
  2. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    Hi Paulista

    I think you've got the distinctions perfectly!:D:thumbsup:
  3. panjandrum

    panjandrum Occasional Moderator

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
  4. Paulista

    Paulista New Member

    Brazil, Portuguese
    Thank you, Loob and panjandrum.

    This forum is better than a private teacher! :D
  5. mallujulia Senior Member

    Spain Spanish

    You are totally right.

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