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Dear teachers,

1) How would you qualify this time of genitive, please? Which "title" would you give it? Is it some sort of "human activities"? but I don't really like this.

love's spirit, science's influence, my life's aim, duty's call .

2) Which tenses would you use in the following sentences and why?

a) Weather conditions have improved/improved (?) during the the last few days.

- Is it possible to say "the weather conditions" or is it definitely wrong?

- can we say "during the last days" = without "few"?

b)There has been / was (?) a real fall (?) in that town's population over/during (?) the last decade.

c)He should him that he doesn't have the time / time (?) to pick up the children from/at (?) school.

- Would you please tell me if the article here is obligatory and why?

- which preposition should be used? are both possible?

3) “Did you do both maths exercises? The first was easier than the second.” “That's right, the first was the easier of the two.”

- Is the "M" of math capitalized ? + should we say "math" or "maths" (with “s” = Br. Eng ; without « s » = Am. Eng ?)

- Would you please tell me when one should use “both” and “the two”? Is it wrong to say “did you do the two maths exercises...” and “the first was the easier of both” ?

4) My mother left on her holiday/vacation (correct?)/ went on holiday(s?)/vacation a few weeks ago.

5) I have to pick her up at/from (?) the airport on her return / when she arrives (correct?).

Many thanks,

Hela
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Hela
Dear teachers,

1) How would you qualify this time of genitive, please? Which "title" would you give it? Is it some sort of "human activities"? but I don't really like this.

love's spirit, science's influence, my life's aim, duty's call . wow! I remember genitive as a Latin case 60 years ago. What do you mean by "time"? Your examples are all possessive. Joe's dog= the dog of Joe. Love's spirit=the spirit of love. What am I missing?

2) Which tenses would you use in the following sentences and why?

a) Weather conditions have improved/improved (?) during the the last few days. Present perfect means the action has been [recently] completed. Simple past would mean it happened at some time in the past. The use of "during" means it was a continuing process. "Last few days" means it continued up to the present, at which time it was completed.(Present Perfect)

- Is it possible to say "the weather conditions" or is it definitely wrong? yes

- can we say "during the last days" = without "few"? yes, but it sometimes means the last days of the universe.

b)There has been / was (?) a real fall (?) in that town's population over/during (?) the last decade.Same tense situation as example 2. Something happened over an extended period which just ended. "Over" and "during" both work, in my humble opinion.

c)He should showed/assured ??? him that he doesn't have the time / time (?) to pick up the children from/at (?) school. I say both choices are acceptable in both your red group and your black group.

Woops! where did the colors go?

- Would you please tell me if the article here is obligatory and why? Why not? the time=the time required / time=any time Both work.

- which preposition should be used? are both possible? ANSWERED

3) “Did you do both maths exercises? The first was easier than the second.” “That's right, the first was the easier of the two.”

- Is the "M" of math capitalized ? + should we say "math" or "maths" (with “s” = Br. Eng ; without « s » = Am. Eng ?) Math would be capitalized if you said, "I just signed up for Math." I doubt "maths" would be used in this context in either domain, but I could be wrong.

- Would you please tell me when one should use “both” and “the two”? Is it wrong to say “did you do the two maths exercises...” and “the first was the easier of both” ? Both choices work in the first example but only "the two" works in the second.

4) My mother left on her holiday/vacation (correct?)/ went on holiday(s?)/vacation a few weeks ago.

5) I have to pick her up at/from (?) the airport on her return / when she arrives (correct?).I think these are all okay. "From" would be questioned by some.

Many thanks, Man, I needa break!

Hela

Hello Avengi,

Sorry, I made a few typos.

1) How would you qualify this type of genitive, please? Which "title" would you give it? Is it some sort of "human activities"? but I don't really like this.

love's spirit, science's influence, my life's aim, duty's call .

By this I meant : sometimes we use the possessive with names of institutions, planets, time references, measurement; but in the case above, what would you call it?

c)He should tell him that he doesn't have the time / time (?) to pick up the children from/at (?) school.

Thank you very much for your help Emotion: smile
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You're welcome Hela,

What a shame all your creative art work (colours & fonts) didn't come through on the final printout!

I suspect the "human activities" and "qualifying types of genitives" is/are a form of ESL-speak. They invent category names for every little nuance which we "native speakers" have never heard of. If you can provide me with a list of options I'll try to give it a tag. I don't mean to disparage the ESL community. These things are extremely useful in getting a handle on a language that largely defies analysis.

Since ours is a human language, a lot of it could be made to fit a "human activities" category. Among your four examples, only "science's influence" pushes the envelope, but it's a pretty big envelope - more like an umbrella - and there's probably room for it.

Best wishes, - A.

P.S. In 2) a) I meant, Yes, it's possible - not, Yes, it's definitely wrong.
Hi Anon,

I have never heard of the name list that you described for genitive types. However, here are 7 genitive types discussed by Bergen and Cornelia Evans, in A Dictionary of Contemporary American Usage:
  1. Classifying or descriptive genitive ("the room's furnishings")
  2. Possessive genitive ("Irene's coat")
  3. Subjective and objective genitive ("God's creation")
  4. Genitive of purpose ("He has written many children's books.")
  5. Measures and other adverbial genitives ("At one time the genitive form of certain words could be used as an adverb. Most of our adverbs that end in an 's' (or 'z') sound, such as "nowadays," "since," "sometimes," "upwards," are survivals from this period.)
  6. Survivals of "an old genitive of source" ("hen's eggs")
  7. Partitive and appositive genitives (don't exist in English, but we express them with an "of" phrase, as in "some of us," "the state of Ohio," "the title of president")
Based on these 7 types, I would guess that all four genitive phrases that you questioned belong to type 1.
Thank you, Hoa Thai for the list. It's really helpful.

Dear teachers, here are other questions, if you wouldn't mind.

So it's correct to say :

2a) The weather conditions have improved during the last few days / these days. (but perhaps not during these last days, right?)

2b) There has been a real fall in that town's population over/during the last decade.

now what about "the town's population has known a real drop over/during the last decade" or is it poor English? Have you got a better alternative, please?

6) Would you please tell me which alternative is preferred?
a) Why not spend the weekend in the country?
b) What / How about spending...
c) What if we spent...

d) Why shouldn't / wouldn't we spend...

7) What about these expressions, are they wrong?

a) Lately, I have been seeing him much less often / frequently." Is there a better way to express this idea?
Best regards,

Hela
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Hi Hela,

2a) The weather conditions have improved during the last few days is good. The weather conditions have improved is good. These days is okay for chit-chat but doesn't add anything. I'd avoid last days without the few because of the endtimes connotation. (personal preference)

2b) Over and during are both good. Drop and decline are each more common than fall, although you might say it has fallen off.

Have you considered using verbs instead of nouns? It fell/dropped/declined.

[what about] Depends on your register. I prefer has experienced a real decline.

6) I wouldn't hesitate to use any of them if I were fortunate enough to be in the right company. Edit.: "Wouldn't we spend the weekend in the country?" implies a different context than the others. Perhaps, "If I were rich and handsome, - - - - -"

7) These are both fine. Can't think of a better expression offhand.

Regards, - A.
Hoa ThaiI have never heard of the name list that you described for genitive types. However, here are 7 genitive types discussed by Bergen and Cornelia Evans, in A Dictionary of Contemporary American Usage
Hi Hoa,

If I say, "Your car has a strange smell to it," is that genitive?

- A.
AvangiIf I say, "Your car has a strange smell to it," is that genitive?
Hi Avangi,

By definition, as you might already know, a genitive case is expressed by the possessive of or a clitic 's. However, your car definitely has a distinctive possessive form where your is either a separate possessive pronoun or an irregular genitive of you.
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