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

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Inquiry is: How do we recreate "1" and "2" in these cases?

Following the J.R."s pointer, I have actually done some preliminary researches and I uncovered that as soon as in-laws come to be possessive brothers-in-law is created brother-in-law"s. So, I would conclude that we should recompose "1" and also "2" in the same way, as follow.

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

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

But, if it is so, just how have the right to we distinguish the two various cases?


plural-creates apostrophe possessives
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edited Jul 25 "17 at 14:00
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ColleenV
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asked Mar 31 "13 at 17:42
user114user114
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So let"s start via the singular "brother-in-law", which is perfectly clear. If you have actually a single brother-in-legislation and also he possesses something, this is created as:

My brother-in-law"s cooking abilities are excubraintv-jp.coment.

If you have actually more than one brother-in-legislation (no possession) you would write:

My brothers-in-legislation are all brunettes.

This is because as soon as pluralizing a compound noun, we constantly add the "s" to the most "important" word. The fact that they are brothers is many vital, so it gets the "s". This is the very same for "mothers-in-law", "fathers-in-law", etc.

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

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

Confirmation of this final construction have the right to be found at grammarbook.com:

Rule 7

If the compound noun is plural, develop the plural initially and then use the apostrophe.

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


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edited Jun 16 "20 at 9:11
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answered Mar 31 "13 at 18:25
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WendiKiddWendiKidd
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Wendi, I was puzzled by "The Cambridge Guide to English Usage", which excludes that "brothers-in-law's" is correct. In reality in that book it is said "But as soon as in-laws come to be possessive, the forms are fully English: brother-in-law's, father-in-law's and so on." (the mentioned forms are brothers-in-legislation, fathers-in-law etc.)
–user114
Mar 31 "13 at 18:38


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This conflict appears to count on a pair of published authorities (favor the Cambridge Guide), yet this construction is so low frequency that a lot of grammars donʼt have actually any type of information on it. Few aboriginal speakers ever should use it, so intuitions are hard to access.

The comments so far disregard the reality that syntaxation is not "flat"; grammatical units are grouped right into ordered units. The plural of nouns belongs to the basic category of the noun, but the genitive/possessive belongs to the entire noun phrase, as prstove by phrases choose "the queen of England"s crown" (not *the queen"s of England crown): in<s crown>, the possessive S belongs to the phrase "the queen of England".

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So the plural of "brother-in-law" (at least in the typical language) is "brothers-in-law", because the plural goes on the bare noun. The possessive cannot be *brother"s-in-law; it has to be "brother-in-law"s", and that is what aboriginal speakers say ("We checked out my brother-in-law"s house").

By this logic, the plural possessive need to be "brothers-in-law"s" (no issue what any kind of guide says!), yet at leastern wright here I come from, the colloquial language resolves it as "brother-in-laws"". We tend not to non-traditional plurals (e.g. two brother-in-laws, two attorney generals). Let the purists cringe, however it"s an extra organic, "English" solution.

The readers of this write-up should decide that they trust more--a pronouncement from a guide on a low-frequency building, or the intuitions of millions of native speakers of English. What would many world create and/or comprehend?