SAXON GENITIVE

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SAXON GENITIVE. A term for the forms of the possessive associated with the APOSTROPHE (boy's, boys'), so called because, along with the plural ending, they are the only noun inflections surviving from Old English or Anglo-Saxon. This genitive is often described as a case form, but as it can be attached to phrases (The King of Thailand's visit; somebody else's seat), some grammarians argue against this view. The same meaning when expressed by an of-phrase is sometimes called the of-genitive: the top of the hill. The Saxon genitive can be used alone with a place reference: See you at Tom's; I got it at the grocer's this morning. Other usages include the subjective genitive (the man's statement, where the man made the statement); the objective genitive (the group's leader, where someone leads the group); and the descriptive genitive (a moment's thought, a ladies' hairdresser, ship's biscuits, Parkinson's disease), which shares some features with attribution and compound words. See GENITIVE CASE, POSSESSION.

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