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QUESTION #3 - USING SYNTHETIC GENITIVE

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Date: Week 4, 2007
Q3: In our "Global Picture in News" page Week 4, 2007--sorry, we have deleted this News page--you could discover a news highlight about the "Grammar Girl". It says in that article that Ms. Mignon Fogarty was asked by the U.S. Supreme Court of Justice to clarify on using either:

      "Kansas' Statute" or "Kansas's Statute"

Ms. Fogarty said that both forms were correct, only she preferred leaving off the extra "s"[sic].

From:  Corollary Theorems


A3. The answer Ms. Fogarty has provided to the U.S. Supreme Court of Justice is indeed "quick and dirty"--as she prefers to label it herself--and it is not correct. [No disrespect is intended here; on the contrary, we do appreciate a lot Ms. Mignon Fogarty's work. It is just that some of the words she uses are not quite . . . appropriate.]

The correct answer is this:

1. in writing, particularly in official papers, the correct grammatical form is: "Kansas's Statute"--grammatical rules are perfectly clear on this aspect;
2. note that it is very difficult to read "Kansas's Statute", therefore in spoken language people use "Kansas' Statute". However, we can write "Kansas' Statute" only in direct style, because spoken words need to be reproduced exactly in direct style.

The reasons behind using one form or the other are indeed complex issues, from multiple points of view. For example, the synthetic genitive form of the words above is not sufficient to clarify the problem because in many instances the most appropriate form is: "Kansas Statute"--this is similar to "The Ohio Amendment Act", "The USA Immigration Law", "The State of California Clean Air Act", etc. Without the apostrophe, both words form a compound-noun construction having exactly the same meaning as the genitival form.

ATTENTION
The compound-noun construction we refer to [Kansas Statute] is a bit more complex, because the word "Kansas" becomes in fact an attribute. For details, please consult LSEG4.

To conclude, the synthetic genitive form may be used grammatically, or "as it is spoken", in particular instances; however, the compound-noun[sic] construction alternative/option has a far wider range of applications.
 

LSEG4RED LEAF L






The complete, easy to learn, Logically Structured English Grammar 4: theory plus exercises!

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