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The spelling and pronunciation of possessives

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Indicating possession or association: possessive structures

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The spelling and pronunciation of possessives

R32 The use of the possessive form of names and other nouns is explained in Chapter 2 (2.180 to 2.192).




R33 The possessive form of a name or other noun is usually formed by adding apostrophe s ('s) to the end.

Ginny's mother didn't answer.

Howard came into the editor's office.

R34 If you are using a plural noun ending in 's' to refer to the possessor, you just add an apostrophe (').

I heard the girls' steps on the stairs.

The Kirks go to publishers' parties in Bloomsbury.

However, if you are using an irregular plural noun which does not end in 's', you add apostrophe s ('s) to the end of it.

It would cost at least three policemen's salaries per year.

The Equal Pay Act has failed to bring women's earnings to the same level.

children's birthday parties.

R35 If something belongs to more than one person or thing whose names are linked by 'and', the apostrophe s ('s) is put after the second name.

Helen and Tim's apartment.

Colin and Mary's relationship.

The crowd met outside father and mother's house.

R36 If you want to say that two people or things each possess part of a group of things, both their names have apostrophe s ('s).

The puppy was a superb blend of his father's and mother's best qualities.

R37 When you are using a name which already ends in 's', you can simply add an apostrophe, for example 'St James' Palace', or you can add apostrophe s ('s), for example 'St James's Palace'. These spellings are pronounced differently. If you simply add an apostrophe, the pronunciation remains unaltered, whereas if you add apostrophe s ('s), the possessive is pronounced /ɪz

R38 Apostrophe s ('s) is pronounced differently in different words. It is pronounced

s/ after the sound /f/, /k/, /p/, /t/, or /

ɪz/ after the sound /s/, /z/, / /, or /

z/ after all other sounds.

R39 If you are using a compound noun, you add apostrophe s ('s) to the last item in the compound.

He went to his mother-in-law's house.

The parade assembled in the Detective Constable's room.

R40 Apostrophe s ('s) can be added to abbreviations and acronyms in the same way as to other words.

He will get a majority of MPs' votes in both rounds.

He found the BBC's output, on balance, superior to that of ITV.

The majority of NATO's members agreed.

Numbers

R41 The uses of cardinal numbers, ordinal numbers, and fractions have been explained in Chapter 2 (2.225 to 2.266). The use of ordinals to express dates is explained in paragraph 8 Lists of numbers and details about how to say and write numbers and fractions are given below.

Cardinal numbers

R42 Here is a list of cardinal numbers. The list shows the patterns of  forming numbers greater than 20.

zero, nought, nothing, oh

one

two

three

four

five

eight

seven

eight

nine

ten

eleven

twelve

thirteen

fourteen

fifteen

sixteen

seventeen

eighteen

nineteen

twenty

twenty-one

twenty-two

twenty-three

twenty-four

twenty-five

twenty-six

twenty-seven

twenty-eight

twenty-nine

thirty

forty

fifty

sixty

seventy

eighty

ninety

a hundred

a hundred and one

a hundred and ten

a hundred and twenty

two hundred

a thousand

a thousand and one



a thousand and ten

two thousand

ten thousand

a hundred thousand

a million

two million

a billion

R43 When you say or write in words a number over 100, you put 'and' before the number expressed by the last two figures. For example, 203 is said or written 'two hundred and three' and 2840 is said or written 'two thousand, eight hundred and forty'.

Four hundred and eighteen men were killed and a hundred and seventeen wounded.

'And' is often omitted in American English.

one hundred fifty dollars.

R44 If you want to say or write in words a number between 1000 and 1,000,000, there are various ways of doing it. For example, the number '1872' can be said or written in words as

eighteen hundred and seventy two

one thousand eight hundred and seventy-two

one eight seven two

eighteen seventy-two

Note that you cannot use 'a' instead of 'one' for the second way.

The third way is often used to identify something such as a room number. With telephone numbers, you always say each figure separately like this.

The last way is use if the number is a date.

R45 Unlike some other languages, in English when number over 9999 are written in figures, a comma is usually put after the fourth figure from the end, the seventh figure from the end, and so on, dividing the figures into groups of three. For example, 15,000 or 1,982,000. With numbers between 1000 and 9999, a comma is sometimes put after the first figure. For example 1,52

When a number contains a full stop, the number or numbers after the full stop indicate a fraction. For example, 2.5 is the same as two and a half.

Ordinal numbers

R46 Here is a list of ordinal numbers. The list shows the patterns of forming ordinal numbers greater than 20.

1st

2nd

3rd

4th

5th

6th

7th

8th

9th

10th

11th

12th

13th

14th

15th

16th

17th

18th

19th

20th

21st

22nd

23rd

24th

25th

first

second

third

fourth

fifth

sixth

seventh

eighth

ninth

tenth

eleventh

twelfth

thirteenth

fourteenth

fifteenth

sixteenth

seventeenth

eighteenth

nineteenth

twenty

twenty-first

twenty-second

twenty-third

twenty-fourth

twenty-fifth

26th

27th

28th

29th

30th

31st

40th

41st

50th

51st

60th

61st

70th

71st

80th

81st

90th

91st

100th

101st

200th

1000th

1,000,000th

1,000,000,000th

twenty-sixth

twenty-seventh

twenty-eighth

twenty-ninth

thirtieth

thirty-first

fortieth

forty-first

fiftieth

fifty-first

sixtieth

sixty-first

seventieth

seventy-first

eightieth

eighty-first

ninetieth

ninety-first

hundredth

hundred and first

two hundredth

thousandth

millionth

billionth

R47 As shown in the above list, ordinals can be written in abbreviated form, for example in dates or heading or in very informal writing. You write the last two letters of the ordinal after the number expressed in figures. For example, 'first' can be written as '1st', 'twenty-second' as '22nd', 'hundred and third' as '103rd', and 'fourteenth' as '14th'.

on August 2nd.

the 1st Division of the Sovereign's Escort.

Fractions and percentages

R48 You can write a fraction in figures, for example , , , and 2/3. These correspond to 'a half', 'a quarter', 'three-quarters', and 'two-thirds' respectively.

R49 Fractions are often given in a special form as a number of hundredths. This type of fraction is called a percentage. For example, 'three-hundredths', expressed as a percentage is 'three per cent'. It can also be written as 'three percent' or '3%'. 'A half' can be expressed as 'fifty per cent', 'fifty percent', or '50%'.

About 20 per cent of student accountants are women.

90 percent of most food is water.

Before 1960 45% of British trade was with the Commonwealth.

You can use percentages on their own as noun groups when it is clear what they refer to.

Ninety per cent were self employed.

interest at 10% per annum.



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