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    The Article Lesson 4 theory (Genitive Case)


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The Article

Lesson 4

Articles with Countable Nouns Modified by Nouns in the Genitive Case

Genitive Case

Genitive TypeThe Specifying Genitive

denotes a particular person or thing.

a)

He didn’t quite like the fellow’s manner.

(the man’s voice, the boys’ books,

X Robert’s books)

b)

She is a neighbour’s daughter.

c)

There must be some poison in lions’ / a lion’s teeth.

d)

The poet’s talent is born with him.

(Whose manner, voice, books etc.?)

Note: These phrases may usually be substituted for by an ‘of’-phrase.

The Classifying (= Descriptive) Genitive

Refers to a whole class of objects, to give additional characteristics to the head-noun.

(*Similar to the use of adjectives).

a children’s book

a mile’s distance

sheep’s eyes

cow’s milk

a doctor’s degree

(What kind of book etc.?)

Note: These phrases cannot be substituted for by an ‘of’-phrase.

Reference of the Article The article refers to the noun in the genitive case (GC).

The noun in the GC functions as a determiner to the head-noun.

a) The noun in the GC comes first in the noun phrase.

b) It cannot be preceded by other attributes referring to the head-noun (they all follow the noun in the GC).

the girl’s new English text-book

cf.

the little girl’s (new English) text-book

They saw the old woman’s house in the clearing before them.The article refers to the head-noun in the common case.

The noun in the GC does not function as a determiner to the head-noun. It serves as a descriptive attribute to the head-noun.

a) It may be preceded by other attributes referring to the head-noun.

What a beautiful doll’s house!

The expensive widow’s weeds only emphasized her prettiness.

Have a good night’s rest.Choice of ArticlesThe article is chosen in accordance with the general rules before the noun in the GC.

Note: There is no article before:

a) a proper noun

Margaret’s face

b) an adverb

yesterday’s concertThe articles are chosen in accordance with the general rules before the head-noun in the common case.

a soldiers’ canteen

a three miles’ walk