Pre- and post-nominal genitives again

tetsugakusha43

Member
Spanish
Do you guys find any asymmetry between (1a) and (1b) or are they equally good (or equally bad)?

(1a) Pictures of herself naked had upset some of Mary’s relatives
(1b) Pictures of herself naked had upset some relatives of Mary’s
 
  • dojibear

    Senior Member
    AE (US English)
    If the subject is female then "herself" is reflexive. But the subject is not female. So what does "herself" mean?

    Mary took pictures of herself. :tick:
    Tony bought pictures of herself at the store. :cross:
     
    Last edited:

    tetsugakusha43

    Member
    Spanish
    I would very much prefer 'pictures of Mary naked had upset some of her relatives'. Your second is worse than the first.

    Do your judgements change at all if we snip the genitival inflection (i.e. Pictures of herself naked had upset some relatives of Mary)? I have in mind minimal pairs such as (2a-b):

    (2a) Pictures of herself naked had upset some relatives/acquaintances of hers
    (2a) Pictures of herself naked had upset some relatives/acquaintances of her
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Do your judgements change at all if we snip the genitival inflection (i.e. Pictures of herself naked had upset some relatives of Mary)? I have in mind minimal pairs such as (2a-b):

    (2a) Pictures of herself naked had upset some relatives/acquaintances of hers
    (2a) Pictures of herself naked had upset some relatives/acquaintances of her
    I'd say it had to be hers, in this sentence.

    It's still not clear who the pictures are of, and the sentence as a whole is a mess.

    Hermione has given you a way out of what looks to be a self-imposed tangle.
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    AE (US English)
    The bank's picture == A picture of the bank.
    The lizard's
    tail == The tail of the lizard.

    So why isn't Mary's relatives == relatives of Mary? Why is it relatives of Mary's?

    It's a mystery to me. I don't understand it. Can someone help? Are both of Mary and of Mary's correct?

    That is the question post 1 is asking. "Herself" is a distraction from the question.
     

    Chasint

    Senior Member
    English - England
    The problem of the original sentences is that the use of "herself" is unclear. What is its antecedent? Who took the photos? Who owns them? One way to clear this up would be as follows:

    Mary's pictures of herself naked had upset some of Mary’s relatives.

    or

    Mary's pictures of herself naked had upset some of her relatives.

    Now we know that "herself" refers back to Mary. We can deduce that Mary took the pictures and/or owns them. If Mary neither took the photos nor owns them, then "herself" is incorrect. In that case you should use "her".
     
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