Using an apostrophes for a non living thing?


Can I use an 's for non-living things to show possessiveness.


The book's cover.

The table's leg.

asked Jun 10 '12 at 12:06 Elijah New member

I read in a grammer book named "English is Easy" that there is no possessive of nonliving things untill we personify them ..if this rule is correct so how this above sentence can be as ..the book's cover ,the table's leg ? According to the rule as book and cover are nonliving so it should be "rhe cover of the book" and "leg of the table"...plzz help

Arju arju.updhyyApr 23 '15 at 14:06

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2 answers


Yes, you may use the possessive with inanimate objects.


Sanjay, do you remember when we discussed preposition sprawl a few weeks ago? Concise writing keeps prepositions to a necessary minimum. Using possessives is one way of reducing unnecessary prepositions (non-native speakers often have difficulty with this because other languages often handle possession differently). Prepositional phrases beginning with "of the" can often be replaced with the possessive.

link answered Jun 10 '12 at 15:38 Jeff Pribyl Grammarly Fellow

Yes, you are right. Thank you very much.

sanjayJun 10 '12 at 17:07

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  I would prefer to say 1)The cover of the book. 2) The leg of the table.

link answered Jun 10 '12 at 13:48 sanjay Expert

Sanjay, the use of a possessive -- even with inanimate objects -- is generally preferred to a prepositional phrase. Non-native speakers often overuse prepositional phrases and underuse possessives. See my answer for more.

Jeff PribylJun 10 '12 at 15:41

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