The actress's car

keeley_h

Senior Member
Bulgarian
Hi, everybody

Which word does the in 1 modify, actress or car?
Or which does 1 mean, 2 to 4?

1. the actress's car
2. the car of the actress's
3. the car of an actress's
4. a car of the actresss's

I think the in 1 modifies car and 1 means 3.
 
  • JB

    Senior Member
    English (AE)
    Hi, everybody

    Which word does the in 1 modify, actress or car?
    Or which does 1 mean, 2 to 4?

    1. the actress's car:tick:
    2. the car of the actress's:tick:
    3. the car of an actress's:cross:
    4. a car of the actresss's:cross:

    I think the in 1 modifies car and 1 means 3.
    #3 and #4 make no sense.
    In #1 and #2, "the" modifies "car".

    Regarding #2, you can say in English:
    "I met a friend of John"
    or
    "I met a friend of John's".
    Both mean the same thing, both are acceptable.
     

    keeley_h

    Senior Member
    Bulgarian
    Hi, JB

    Thanks a lot for your prompt reply.
    I see.

    Could I ask about 3?
    Suppose you're talking about one car that belongs to one of the five actresses and another car that belongs to one of the six actors. In this situation, I think 3 is correct. Am I wrong?

    Could I ask about 4?
    Suppose you're talking about an actress who has seven cars. In this situation, I think 4 is correct. Am I wrong?
     

    Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    :eek:
    I think you need to start off all over again and tell us exactly how many cars and how many actresses or actors you want to talk about! A revision of the use of possessive 's and s' would help too, as well as noun plurals.

    [Which word does the in 1 modify, actress or car?
    Or which does 1 mean, 2 to 4?

    1. the actress's car:tick:
    2. the car of the actress's:cross:
    3. the car of an actress's:cross:
    4. a car of the actresss's:confused:

    I think the in 1 modifies car and 1 means 3.
    1. "the actress's car" means the car of the actress. Actress's stands for of the actress. It's an adjectival phrase telling us whose car it is.
    It's always a good idea to put the words in a sentence; in fact it is part of the context rules of this forum.
    The car of the famous actress/The famous actress's car was badly damaged this morning. So, the car is the subject of the sentence and the definite article the does not refer to the actress. There is one car and one actress. We would know which actress we are talking about because there would be more context. The previous sentence might have been Dame Maggie Smith has had a lucky escape from serious injury.


    3. the car of an actress's:cross:
    Here there is a double possessive - of a and 's. Since 's replaces of a (or of the), we need either A famous actress's car or The car of a famous actress.



    Hermione
     
    Last edited:

    keeley_h

    Senior Member
    Bulgarian
    Hi, Hermione

    Thanks a lot for your prompt reply.

    [A] Start off all over again
    My question is as follows, from X*X to Y*Y. That is to say, my question is quite the same as that in my first post.

    X*******************************************X
    Which word does the in 1 modify, actress or car?
    Or which does 1 mean, 2 to 4?
    1. the actress's car
    2. the car of the actress's
    3. the car of an actress's
    4. a car of the actresss's
    I think the in 1 modifies car and 1 means 3.
    Y*******************************************Y

    I posted post 3 because JB said "#3 and #4 make no sense."
    I thought there are two possibilities of the reasons why he put an x mark on #3 and #4.
    The first possibility is "#3 and #4 make no sense," that is to say #3 and #4 are grammatically incorrect.
    The second possibility is #3 and #4 don't mean 1, that is to say #3 and #4 are grammatically correct.

    I wanted to know which possibility is correct and posted post 3.
    So my question is quite the same as in my first post, that is to say the same as from X*X to Y*Y.


    Tell us exactly how many cars and how many actresses
    I talked about five actress, six actors, and seven cars. But that's because I thought that's the only way I could know which possibility in [A] is correct. So please think about five actress, six actors, and seven cars only when you think about which possibility is correct.

    When you think about the answer to my first post, they means nothing. So please forget them and think about which the in 1 modifies or which 1 means.


    [C] Revision of the use of possessive 's and s'
    Oh, yes.
    4. a car of the actresss's......wrong
    4. a car of the actress's........correct
    Sorry.
     
    Last edited:

    Parla

    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    Which word does the in 1 modify, actress or car?
    Or which does 1 mean, 2 to 4?

    1. the actress's car
    2. the car of the actress's
    3. the car of an actress's
    4. a car of the actresss's
    "The" is an article and doesn't "modify" anything; adjectives and adverbs modify.

    And the only one of the above that's grammatically correct is #1. In #2 and #3, the word should be just "actress" ("of" indicates possessive; you don't use both it and the 's), and they would still not be idiomatic English. I don't know what was intended in #4, but the letter "s" seems to have cloned itself, and it makes no sense.
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    "The" is an article and doesn't "modify" anything; adjectives and adverbs modify.
    That depends on your grammarian, Parla....
    Which word does the in 1 modify, actress or car?
    It modifies actress, keeley:

    The car belonging to John: John's car
    The car belonging to the actress: the actress's car
    The car belonging to an actress: an actress's car
     

    keeley_h

    Senior Member
    Bulgarian
    OK.
    It's so nice and clear.

    Could I confirm?
    Are the following phrases, 3' or 4', grammatically correct?
    3'. the car of an actress
    4'. a car of the actress

    Sorry for asking many times.
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    Could I confirm?
    Are the following phrases, 3' or 4', grammatically correct?
    3'. the car of an actress
    4'. a car of the actress
    3'. the car of an actress is grammatically correct, but would sound a bit stilted in most contexts.

    4'. a car of the actress may be correct for some people. But I think most people (including me!:D), would use the double possessive here: a car of the actress's.

    Compare:
    one of John's cars: a car of John's
    one of the actress's cars: a car of the actress's.

    You have to use the double possessive when you've got a pronoun:
    one of his cars: a car of his
    one of her cars: a car of hers.
     

    keeley_h

    Senior Member
    Bulgarian
    Hi, Loob.

    Thanks a lot for your kind reply.
    That's what I wanted to ask.

    Could you tell me again?
    Does 10 never mean 12 or 13?
    1. the actress's car
    10. an actress's car
    11. The car belonging to an actress
    12. A car belonging to the actrress
    13. A car belonging to an actrress

    One more.
    Which do you say the in 1 modifies, actress or car?
    Which do you say a in 10 modifies, actress or car?
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    Could you tell me again?
    Does 10 never mean 12 or 13?
    1. the actress's car
    10. an actress's car
    11. The car belonging to an actress
    12. A car belonging to the actress
    13. A car belonging to an actress
    10 could mean either 11 or 13, but not 12.
    Which do you say the in 1 modifies, actress or car?
    Which do you say a in 10 modifies, actress or car?
    The in 1 modifies actress.
    An in 10 modifies actress.
    :)
     
    Last edited:

    keeley_h

    Senior Member
    Bulgarian
    Hi, Loob.

    Thanks a lot for your kind reply, #9.

    Could you tell me, in the phrases 2' to 5', which most people use, sigle possessive or double possessive?
    2'. The car of the actress
    3'. The car of an actress
    4'. A car of the actress......double possessive
    5'. A car of an actress
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    We only use the double possessive when the idea is "one of the X belonging to ...". So we wouldn't use it for either
    2'. The car of the actress
    3'. The car of an actress

    Most people would use it for 4'.

    As to 5', it actually sounds awkward to me both ways:(. I've never thought about this before, but it may be that we use the double possessive only when we're talking about a specific person.
     

    keeley_h

    Senior Member
    Bulgarian
    Thanks, everybody.

    I learned there are some different opinions.
    Among them, especially Loob's replies seemed the most logical and calmed down all the questions I had. I have to thank you, Loob.

    But the other replies were also very, very nice, clear, and exciting. I learned a lot and felt a deep world of English .

    Thanks!
    Ciao.
     
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