My cousin Peter's screaming / Peter who was screaming for ....

mathias

Member
FRANCE
I am not certain wether the first sentence is correct. Can anyone give me some clues?

1.Neither my uncle Jules’ snoring, nor my cousin Peter’s screaming for his feeding bottle around 2am....
2. Neither my uncle Jules’ snoring, nor my cousin Peter who was screaming for his feeding bottle around 2 am...
 
  • Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    You need #1 in my opinion, for parallel structure. And you need Jules's for my tastes, but not everyone's. :)
     

    heypresto

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Yes, the first sentence is correct. The things listed are Uncle Jules's snoring and my cousin's screaming.

    I think the second sentence is also OK, but doesn't, to me, sound as natural as the first.

    And it's Jules's for me too.
     

    samikenina

    New Member
    english
    neither my uncle Jules' snoring nor cousin Peter screaming ...
    you needn't use the possessive here it reads better without it...its superfluous
     

    Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    I was going to say that the possessive is needed, but then I thought about it to the point of wonderment:

    Possessive -- focus on the snoring and screaming:
    Neither my uncle Jules’s snoring nor my cousin Peter’s screaming (could keep me awake -- I was that tired).

    Non-possessive -- focus on the people:
    Neither my uncle Jules snoring nor my cousin Peter screaming (could keep me awake -- I was that tired).

    I would use the possessive because I want the focus on the noise, but I don't have that much trouble with the alternative.

    Edit: I realize I've made a fundamental mistake in completing the sentence. Without knowing what the entire sentence is, we're only guessing that the focus should be on sound, when it's possible that it should be on people. Not likely, but possible. But even if it is sound, it's (barely) possible to focus on the source.
     
    Last edited:

    samikenina

    New Member
    english
    i think its a matter of style..and the possessive is not absolutely necessary..the sentence is much smoother
    uncle jules snoring and cousin Peter screaming
     

    GreenWhiteBlue

    Senior Member
    USA - English
    i think its a matter of style..and the possessive is not absolutely necessary..the sentence is much smoother
    uncle jules snoring and cousin Peter screaming
    It is not a matter of "style", but of fundamental meaning. Are we speaking of snoring, or of Uncle Jules? Is Cousin Peter the subject of the verb, or is screaming the subject? I do not see how anyone could rationally argue that there is no real difference between having "Jules and Peter" as a subject, and having "snoring and screaming" as a subject.


    In addition, the use of proper capitalization of such things as the first person singular pronoun "I", or the name "Jules", is also not merely a matter of "style".
     

    mathias

    Member
    FRANCE
    Thank you to every everybody for answering the thread I launched. Your answers enlighten me on the use of the possessive’s forms. As I did not wish to write a long thread, I deliberately cut short the sentence.


    I looked into my Practical English 2nd Edition grammar by A.J. THOMSON AND A.V. MARTINET. This is what the authors write:


    Use of the possessive case
    Nouns with gerunds
    In formal English, nouns denoting persons are put into the possessive case when used with gerunds :
    I disliked my mother’s interfering in the affair.


    But in informal English the genitive is usually dropped:
    I disliked my mother interfering
     

    mathias

    Member
    FRANCE
    To live up to Cagey's exectations here is the complete sentence:

    Neither my uncle Jules’ snoring nor my cousin Peter’s screaming for his feeding bottle around 2 am, managed to wake me up, but my father would whisper me out of bed.

    Again thanks everyone
     
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