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What Is the Genitive Case? (with Examples)The genitive case is predominantly used for showing possession. With nouns, it is usually created by adding 's to the word or by preceding it with of.
Most people will encounter the term genitive case when studying a language other than English. In English, you will often hear the term possessive case in place of genitive case, but be aware that the genitive case is not always about possession (more below).
Examples of the Genitive CaseHere are some examples of the genitive case:
- Carl's haircut
- The edge of the table
- Dog's bone
- The bone of the dog
|singular noun||dog||dog's dinner|
|plural noun||dogs||dogs' dinner|
|singular noun ending s||Chris||Chris' hat or Chris's hat|
|plural nouns not ending s||Men||Men's room|
Possessive Case or Genitive Case?The genitive case is also called the possessive case. The two terms are interchangeable, but possessive case is more common in English study. However, as this case does not always show possession, some grammarians like to make a distinction between the genitive case and the possessive case. For example:
- Dan's bike (No one would argue this is the genitive case and the possessive case. It is the bike of Dan. It is about possession.)
- Children's songs (This is not about possession. It's about songs for children. For this reason, some argue this is the genitive case and not the possessive case.)
- Constable's paintings (This is not about possession. It's about paintings by Constable. Some would argue this is the genitive case and not the possessive case.)
- Childrens Minister (Sometimes, the title Childrens Minister is written without an apostrophe to make it clear it is a minister for children.)
- Children's Minister (We judge this to be the correct version. It's just the genitive case. It's not always about possession.)
- The dog's dinner
- The dinner of the dog
- Picasso's painting
- Painting by Picasso (The phrase by Picasso is not the genitive case, even though it is an expansion of something which is. Oh well, never mind.)
Genitive Adjectives and PronounsPossessive adjectives and possessive personal pronouns are also forms of the genitive case. Examples:
- our carpet (our - a genitive form of we)
- Can I use yours? (yours - a genitive form of you)
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