Unit 25 Level 3 (Upper Intermediate- Advanced): Saxon Genitive - Double Genitive

This week, besides reviewing the saxon genitive structure, we are going to learn about a special construction called “double possessive” (also known as “double genitive”, “post-genitive” or “appositional of-phrase”).

In this type of structures, possession is indicated by the preposition “of” followed by a noun or pronoun in the possessive case, as in “He is a friend of mine” or “He is a friend of John’s”.

The double possessive is commonly used as a means to avoid the ambiguity which sentences like “a picture of my grandfather” (a portrait of my grandfather) and “a picture of my grandfather’s” (a picture belonging to my grandfather) may bring about.

1) But, first of all, let’s refresh your memory on the use of the apostrophes with this video:

2) For more information on “double genitives”, check out the following links:

Link 1

Link 2

Link 3

Now, let’s do some practice with this set of exercises:

Exercise 1

Exercise 2

Exercise 3

Exercise 4

Exercise 5

4) Note that we can use possessive nouns like possessive pronouns when we are talking about two things of the same type which belong to different people, thus avoiding the repetition of what we are referring to:

My house is bigger than John’s.

Likewise, when we are talking about someone’s home or place of work, the possessive form can be also used:

We have gone to Sam’s on Baker Street

5) So, now that you have mastered the use of the genitive case, let’s do some translation

a) La idea de Tom es mejor que la de Sam

b) También estaba allí un amigo mío.

c) Fuimos a cenar a casa de John.

d) Esta vida me está matando.

e) Cualquier amigo tuyo es mi amigo.


a) Tom’s idea is better than Sam’s.

b) A friend of mine was also there.

c) We went to John’s to have dinner.

d) This life of mine is killing me.

e) Any friend of yours is a friend of mine.

6) Don’t forget to learn new vocabulary. Extract all the words you don't know from this article from the “Time” magazine titled “Dark Energy: Was Einstein Right After All?” Look the new words up in an English-English dictionary like this one.

7) Listen and read this story. You should learn all the vocabulary and practice pronunciation. And, for the most daring, read this article from “The New York Times”.

8) Finally, write a story of about 200/250 words using the structures you have learnt in this lesson. You can use examples from the videos and exercises above.

How many activities have you done? All of them? Congratulations!You have just got 10 points. Imprimir

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