The English('s) love affair with gardening

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Radioh

Senior Member
Vietnamese
love affair noun
2. great enthusiasm for something
the English love affair with gardening
Hi. The definition and example of love affair I quoted above are from the OALD(Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary).
http://www.oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com/definition/english/love-affair
And I'd like to know if I need to add 's to the English ? In my opinion, since the English means the people of England and after it is a noun, I need to use 's to show possesion. Is my thinking correct ? Or the English is acting as an adjective and modifying love affair ?
 
  • piney

    Member
    Bilingual - English & Korean
    The screen image of the Oxford Learner's Dictionary concerning the OP's question is attached below.
    I have to assume that there is no mistake, which makes me think in the following way.

    The love affair with gardening
    The American love affair with gardening
    The English love affair with gardening

    American and English are adjectives.

    2014-06-23_200336.jpg
     
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    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    Yes, English is an adjective in 'the English love affair with gardening'.

    I wouldn't use English's here. You could say 'the love affair of the English with gardening' but it seems unnecessarily wordy. I think this is because 'the English' is really a kind of adjective used as a noun (to refer to a group of people), and I wouldn't use is in a possessive form. Similarly, I wouldn't say 'The poor's/hungry's/deaf's inability to ...' and so on. Notice that there is no plural form: it is already assumed to be plural: 'The English have a love affair with gardening'.

    I can say 'the Americans' love affair with gardening' because 'the American' is a more regular noun which can take the plural form. American is therefore different from English.
     

    Forero

    Senior Member
    If the love affair itself is English, then "English love affair" is correct.

    But if you mean to be talking about a love affair the English have, you have to say it differently.

    The Italians' love affair with something:tick:
    The Germans' love affair with something:tick:
    The Americans' love affair with gun ownership:tick:
    The Filipinos' love affair with something:tick:
    The Englishes' love affair with something:cross:
    The English' love affair with something:cross:
    The English's love affair with something:cross:

    The problem is that English, French, Chinese, and several other words for people of different nationalities, end in s-like sounds and so are the same in plural as in singular, and they lack a plural possessive form.
     
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    Parla

    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    I don't see anything wrong with "the English love affair with gardening". If it bothers you, you can always say, "the English people's love affair with gardening".
     

    Radioh

    Senior Member
    Vietnamese
    Thank you very much for your explanations, Natkretep, Forero and Copyright :) I completely understand it now.
    I don't see anything wrong with "the English love affair with gardening". If it bothers you, you can always say, "the English people's love affair with gardening".
    Yes! Thank you Parla. I meant to say that but was not sure if it had the same meaning as "the English love affair with gardening".Thank you all again :D
     

    Radioh

    Senior Member
    Vietnamese
    Similarly, I wouldn't say 'The poor's/hungry's/deaf's inability to ...' and so on. ...
    I'm sorry but I've got another question. So it's always "the inability of the poor/the hungry/the deaf" ? Can "the poor problem" means "the problem of the poor" like the English love affair ? For example: the poor problem is that they have to work very hard but still can't make ends meet. --- Hope Mr Nat or someone can help me. Thank you.
     

    Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    If you could use "the poor problem," then you should also be able to use "the hungry problem" and "the deaf problem" -- but you can't. A poor problem is the opposite of a good problem, so no one is going to think you mean "the problem of the poor."
     

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    Mr Nat at your service, but Mr Copyright has already given the answer. This is one respect 'the poor' is different from 'the English' - the parallel is not quite complete.
     

    Forero

    Senior Member
    I might say or write "the poor's problem", "the hungry's problem", or "the deaf's problem", just as I might say or write "the children's problem" or "the Germans' problem".

    Note that "the poor problem" can mean several things not at all like what "the poor's problem" means, just as "the child problem" can mean things "the children's problem" does not, and "the German problem" means things besides what "the German's problem" means.

    In this regard, "the English problem" is no exception: It can mean "the problem in England" or "the problem we have with the English", and it is not a good substitute for "the problem the English have".

    But whereas the poor (I believe) has the possessive form the poor's, and the children and the Germans have standard possessive forms, the English, because of its particular combination of plural meaning and ambiguous phonetic form, simply has no possessive form corresponding to the poor's, the children's, or the Germans'.

    However, "love affair with gardening" does not lend itself to as much ambiguity as "problem" does: "The German love affair with x" means nearly the same as "the Germans' love affair with x"— not exactly, but close enough.

    And "the English love affair with gardening" (= "the love affair in England with gardening") is a rather good substitute for the phrase that prompted this thread, the phrase calling for the non-existent possessive form of "the English".
     

    Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    I might say or write "the poor's problem", "the hungry's problem", or "the deaf's problem" ...
    Considering my surprise (Ok, shock) at learning this, I was somewhat reassured to find Google results of just 66 for the poor, zero for the hungry and one for the deaf. :)
     

    Forero

    Senior Member
    Thank you very much for your explanations, Natkretep, Forero and Copyright :) I completely understand it now.Yes! Thank you Parla. I meant to say that but was not sure if it had the same meaning as "the English love affair with gardening".Thank you all again :D
    What I think you are trying to say is "the love affair the English have with gardening". The other phrases offered are not unequivocably synonymous with that, but their meanings are probably similar enough.

    Yes, in "the English love affair with gardening", "English" is an adjective modifying "love affair", not a form of the plural phrase "the English", just as "German" is an adjective in "the German problem", not a substitute for "Germans'" as in "the Germans' problem".
     

    Radioh

    Senior Member
    Vietnamese
    What I think you are trying to say is "the love affair the English have with gardening". The other phrases offered are not unequivocably synonymous with that, but their meanings are probably similar enough...
    I'm sorry if my questions aren't clear. I started this thread because I wanted to know if "the English love affair with gardening" means "the love affair with gardening of the English people" (and if it does, can I add 's to the English). And all of you here told me it does and we won't add 's. Then I wondered if the same goes with "the poor/the hungry.."
    but I think I've got the answer :)
    Thank you!
     

    Forero

    Senior Member
    I'm sorry if my questions aren't clear. I started this thread because I wanted to know if "the English love affair with gardening" means "the love affair with gardening of the English people"... And all of you here told me it does
    Others have suggested that these two phrases are synonymous, but I am saying that they are not. They have similar meanings, not the same meaning.

    In "the English love affair with gardening", English is an adjective, not a noun. It does not directly refer to the English people but to an English "love affair".

    I gave the example "the German problem", which might be used to mean "the problem the German people have", but it could also mean "the problem we have with Germany" or "the problem that occurs in the German language", among other things. The adjective German and the plural possessive the Germans' (= "of the Germans", approximately) are different constructions with different meanings.
    (and if it does, can I add 's to the English) ... and we won't add 's.
    I think a possessive form of "the English" would be useful, but unfortunately it does not exist.
    Then I wondered if the same goes with "the poor/the hungry.."
    "The poor's love affair (with something)" does need the possessive suffix because "the poor love affair" and "the poor's love affair" have very different meanings. And the same goes for the 's in "the hungry's love affair (with something)".
    but I think I've got the answer :)
    Thank you!
    I hope this helps.
     
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