Now, let us intend that the brothers in "1" is a brother-in-law and also that all the brothers in "2" are brothers-in-law.

You are watching: Plural form of brother-in-law

Question is: exactly how do we rewrite "1" and also "2" in these cases?

Following the J.R."s suggestion, I have done some preliminary researches and I uncovered that when in-laws come to be possessive brothers-in-law is written brother-in-law"s. So, I would certainly conclude the we have to rewrite "1" and also "2" in the very same way, together follow.

i) mine brother-in-law"s friend"s opinions.

ii) mine brother-in-law"s friend"s opinions.

But, if that is so, how have the right to we differentiate the two various cases?


plural-forms apostrophe possessives
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edited Jul 25 "17 in ~ 14:00
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ColleenV
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inquiry Mar 31 "13 in ~ 17:42
user114user114
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So let"s begin with the singular "brother-in-law", which is perfect clear. If you have a single brother-in-law and he own something, this is created as:

My brother-in-law"s cooking an abilities are excbetterworld2016.orgent.

If friend have an ext than one brother-in-law (no possession) you would certainly write:

My brothers-in-law space all brunettes.

This is because when pluralizing a link noun, we always add the "s" to the many "important" word. The truth that they space brothers is most important, therefore it gets the "s". This is the same for "mothers-in-law", "fathers-in-law", etc.

If you have much more than one brother-in-law and also they all own something:

My brothers-in-law"s restaurant is the ideal in town!

Confirmation the this final building can be uncovered at grammarbook.com:

Rule 7

If the link noun is plural, kind the plural an initial and then usage the apostrophe.

Example:my two brothers-in-law"s hats


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reply Mar 31 "13 in ~ 18:25
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WendiKiddWendiKidd
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Wendi, ns was confused by "The Cambridge guide to English Usage", i m sorry excludes the "brothers-in-law's" is correct. In reality in that publication it is said "But once in-laws come to be possessive, the forms are fully English: brother-in-law's, father-in-law's etc." (the mentioned develops are brothers-in-law, fathers-in-law etc.)
–user114
Mar 31 "13 in ~ 18:38


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This debate seems to rely on a pair of published authorities (like the Cambridge Guide), but this construction is so short frequency that most grammars donʼt have any kind of information top top it. Couple of native speakers ever before need to use it, for this reason intuitions are difficult to access.

The comments so much ignore the truth that syntax is no "flat"; grammatical units room grouped into hierarchical units. The many of noun belongs to the simple category that the noun, however the genitive/possessive belongs come the entire noun phrase, together proven by phrases choose "the queen that England"s crown" (not *the queen"s the England crown): in<s crown>, the own S belongs to the expression "the queen the England".

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So the plural of "brother-in-law" (at least in the typical language) is "brothers-in-law", due to the fact that the plural goes on the ceiling noun. The possessive can not be *brother"s-in-law; it has to be "brother-in-law"s", and that is what indigenous speakers to speak ("We saw my brother-in-law"s house").

By this logic, the many possessive must be "brothers-in-law"s" (no matter what any type of guide says!), but at least where ns come from, the colloquial language resolves it as "brother-in-laws"". We have tendency not to non-standard many (e.g. 2 brother-in-laws, two attorney generals). Allow the purists cringe, yet it"s a more natural, "English" solution.

The readers of this post should decide who they to trust more--a pronouncement native a overview on a low-frequency construction, or the intuitions that millions of aboriginal speakers that English. What would most world produce and/or comprehend?