What is the possessive of others?

Discussion in 'English Only' started by arjun78, Oct 22, 2009.

  1. arjun78 Senior Member

    Is it others'?

    This book is others'.

    It was my decision. It wasn't others'.
  2. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    Two answers, arjun:):

    (1) the possessive of others is others'
    (2) but we wouldn't use others' in your sentences:
    This book is others' someone else's.
    It was my decision. It wasn't others' anyone else's.
  3. ewie

    ewie Senior Member

    Another Country
    English English
    Technically it's others'. But this is one of those words we'd tend to avoid because it just sounds exactly like others and could be ambiguous or confusing.

    This book belongs to the others
    This book is someone else's

    It was my decision. It was no-one else's

    Last edited: Oct 22, 2009
  4. panjandrum

    panjandrum Occasional Moderator

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Others is plural.
    The possessive of plural nouns ending with /s/ is, generally, indicated by /s'/.
    He always listens to others' views.

    I should add, though, that the need for this particular possessive does not often arise. For example, my sentence above would be much better written as:
    He always listens to the views of others.

    Similarly, the example sentences in post #1 seem odd - clunky, to use a technical term :)
  5. JungKim Senior Member

    Here's a quote from Brave the animation:
    "...fate is woven together like a cloth so that one's destiny intertwines with many others." (Emphasis added.)
    I think it's correct to make many others possessive such as many others' or those of many others. But all the scripts that I've checked say many others without an apostrophe.
    Any thoughts?

    Here's one link: http://www.moviequotesandmore.com/brave-movie-quotes.html#.ULQp2OTZbns
  6. lucas-sp Senior Member

    English - Californian
    In this sentence:
    "Many others" refers to "many other people." It would mean that you want your path in life to intersect with many other people, many people besides yourself, and maybe even many different kinds of people. It makes sense, but it doesn't quite mean the same thing as:
    That would mean what you're suggesting: your path in life would intersect with the many other paths traversed by many other people.

    The meaning of the two sentences, thought, is functionally the same, and you wouldn't hear any difference between the two sentences if you said them out loud. You might not be able to get a conclusive answer about which one is right!
  7. JungKim Senior Member

    When you say "fate is woven together like a cloth", you mean A's fate is woven with B's fate, not just B. In the context, therefore, I think that it should be the destinies of many others, not just many others. No??
  8. lucas-sp Senior Member

    English - Californian
    I think you might be logically correct - since fate would be woven out of destinies, not necessarily people. But if it's an error, it's so small so as to be almost unnoticeable, because if my destiny intertwines with yours then it also would involve you as a person. I'm convinced that you are right, but also that most English speakers would get exactly the same idea from both sentences!

Share This Page