Possessive Plural - the cat's toys VS the cats' toys

mellow-yellow

Senior Member
English - USA
Regarding the possessive plural:

1 cat: A cat's toy.
2+ cats: The cats' toys.

Grammatically, how do you distinguish between each cat possessing one toy vs each cat possessing multiple toys? Or is that not possible in this formulation? My attempt:

2+ cats: The cats' toys. (one toy per cat?)
2+ cats: The cats' toys. (multiple toys per cat?)
 
  • Egmont

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    I'm not sure cats have a sense of ownership about toys, but as regards grammar, I don't think you can tell. All you know is that there are several cats and several toys. It's even possible that there are fewer toys than cats, and they have to share. :)
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    [...]

    Grammatically, how do you distinguish between each cat possessing one toy vs each cat possessing multiple toys? Or is that not possible in this formulation? My attempt:

    2+ cats: The cats' toys. (one toy per cat?)
    2+ cats: The cats' toys. (multiple toys per cat?)
    You're making me feel old, Mellow-Yellow. What's the difference? I couldn't see one.
     
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