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Saxon genitive

English grammar help. Grammar questions from ESL learners

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Saxon genitive

Postby googl » Thu Oct 07, 2004 8:36 am

I'd like to ask whether (from grammatical point of view) is Saxon genitive ('s) a (post)determiner or an adjective? I can put 'the' before it, so it is not a central determiner nor it is a predeterminer.
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Postby Alan » Thu Oct 07, 2004 11:44 am

By a rather loose, traditional classification, any determiner - and even an article - can be called an 'adjective', but generally these days we would classify possessive nouns as determiners.

The 'the' that can precede a possessive-case noun (by virtue of that noun's retention of its normal syntactic powers even when functioning determinatively) should be regarded as part of the determiner itself, rather than as an element that can be added to it. Thus we would describe possessive noun phrase the postman's in the postman's cat as a PHRASAL DETERMINER, in contrast with simple determiner Peter's in Peter's cat.
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