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Adding 's to a Word Options
Ghada M.Ahmad
Posted: Wednesday, November 18, 2015 11:40:12 AM

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Hello all,
I'm translating an Arabic text into English. In a sentence that reads: "on the strength of the right of the Centre of Excellence, the foundation should have...", can I say: "On the strength of The Centre of Excellence's right...."?
In other words, can I add the "'s" after the word 'Excellence', which is part of the center's name, or I must add it after the word 'Centre'??
thar
Posted: Wednesday, November 18, 2015 11:59:29 AM

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If you were going to add 's, it would be at the end, not after the first word.
But it does not sound right with 's.
In general, you don't use that form with inanimate objects. Only with people or animals.
And as another general guide, you don't use it with complex nouns like this, consisting of more than one word.

So, it is best to leave it as ' the _____of the ______'.
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Wednesday, November 18, 2015 12:18:11 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

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Location: Livingston, Scotland, United Kingdom
Hello Ghada.

It would probably sound better in English if you were to translate the "meaning of the whole sentence" rather than try to keep to the structure of the original one in Arabic.

You might say something like "because the Centre of Excellence has the right, the foundation should have...".

I really admire anyone who can translate well - it is an art!
foolofgrace
Posted: Wednesday, November 18, 2015 2:40:15 PM

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Location: Chicago, Illinois, United States
>But it does not sound right with 's.
>In general, you don't use that form with inanimate objects. Only with people or animals.

I've never heard that rule. So it is incorrect to say

the hospital's policy
the court's ruling
the building's roof
the shoe's laces
the sun's brilliance

Or am I misunderstanding? Thanks.
Passion for phonics
Posted: Wednesday, November 18, 2015 3:43:21 PM
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Hello foolofgrace!
This partial excerpt is from The Gregg Reference Manual:
As a rule, nouns referring to inanimate things should not be in the possessive. Use an ‘of’ phrase instead.
the bottom of the barrel (NOT: the barrel’s bottom)
the wording of the agreement (NOT: the agreement’s wording)
the lower level of the terminal (NOT: the terminal’s lower level)

In many common expressions that refer to time and measurements, however, and in phrases implying personification, the possessive form has come to be accepted usage.
one day’s notice
a pound’s/dollar’s worth
at arm’s length
two cent’s worth
a stone’s throw
for heaven’s sake
New Year’s resolutions
this morning’s news

I am aware that not all members of this Forum think Gregg’s to be a valuable resource—but I do—and it does address your question.
thar
Posted: Wednesday, November 18, 2015 4:06:54 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 7/8/2010
Posts: 23,041
Neurons: 93,553
foolofgrace wrote:
>But it does not sound right with 's.
>In general, you don't use that form with inanimate objects. Only with people or animals.

I've never heard that rule. So it is incorrect to say

the hospital's policy

This is the hospital as a group of people. They make the policy. So in that case it is animate. But you would not say 'the hospital's roof' because that is the inanimate building.
the court's ruling
Again, this ruling is made by people.
So it is whether the deeper meaning is animate, not the exact word.
The court's ruling, because it is the people.


the building's roof
No, this sounds wrong
the shoe's laces

Does not sound natural. In this case additionally because there is no reason not to use the term 'shoelaces'.
In many cases, if it is an inanimate noun, you don't use the possessive at all - you make the noun an attributive noun, acting as an adjective
The car door
The shoelaces
The hospital roof



the sun's brilliance
I think 'brilliance' is a characteristic - not a possession or component.

It is a general pattern, not a rule, but it does help when in doubt.


Or am I misunderstanding? Thanks.
foolofgrace
Posted: Thursday, November 19, 2015 10:56:35 AM

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Location: Chicago, Illinois, United States
Thank you, thar and passion, for clearing that up for me. I'd never heard of that distinction. Thanks again!
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Thursday, November 19, 2015 11:35:31 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 9/12/2011
Posts: 34,589
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Location: Livingston, Scotland, United Kingdom

It's not that I disagree much with Greggs - I buy my Cornish pasties there regularly! Whistle - it is just the fact that there are at least twenty-four major 'style-guides', each one saying something different from all the others. How can anyone say that any one of them is 'correct' or 'should be followed'.

Even Fowler's - which was good when Fowler wrote it in the 1920s - has been revised again and again so that the latest edition is ten times as thick, and totally unrecognisable!

ACS Style Guide
AMA Manual of Style
AP Stylebook
APA style
The ASA Style Guide
Bluebook
The Business Style Handbook
The Chicago Manual of Style
Citing Medicine
The Elements of Style
The Elements of Typographic Style
Fowler's Modern English Usage
IEEE style
ISO 690
MHRA Style Guide
The Microsoft Manual of Style
MLA Handbook
MLA Style Manual
The New York Times Manual
The Oxford Guide to Style/New Hart's Rules
Scientific Style and Format (CSE style)
The Sense of Style
Turabian


Ghada M.Ahmad
Posted: Thursday, November 19, 2015 11:52:08 AM

Rank: Newbie

Joined: 12/16/2014
Posts: 7
Neurons: 197,692
Location: Cairo, Al Qahirah, Egypt

Thank you so much all. I appreciate all your replies. You made it clear that it'd be problematic if I added 's to an inanimate object. However, I like Drag0nspeaker's answer, i.e., to change the structure but keep the meaning of the sentence.

Thank you again all
Applause
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