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

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Question is: just how do we rewrite "1" and also "2" in this cases?

Following the J.R."s suggestion, I have actually done some preliminary researches and I discovered that as soon as in-laws become possessive brothers-in-law is composed brother-in-law"s. So, I would conclude that we must rewrite "1" and also "2" in the same way, as follow.

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

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

But, if it is so, how can we identify the two different 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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asked Mar 31 "13 at 17:42
user114user114
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So let"s begin with the singular "brother-in-law", which is perfect clear. If you have actually a solitary brother-in-law and also he possesses something, this is written as:

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

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

My brothers-in-law space all brunettes.

This is since when pluralizing a compound noun, us always add the "s" to the most "important" word. The fact that they space brothers is many important, for this reason it it s okay the "s". This is the same for "mothers-in-law", "fathers-in-law", etc.

If friend have an ext than one brother-in-law and also they all very own something:

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

Confirmation of this final building can be discovered at grammarbook.com:

Rule 7

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

Example:my 2 brothers-in-law"s hats


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edited Jun 16 "20 at 9:11
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reply Mar 31 "13 in ~ 18:25
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WendiKiddWendiKidd
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Wendi, i was perplexed by "The Cambridge overview to English Usage", i m sorry excludes the "brothers-in-law's" is correct. In truth in that publication it is said "But as soon as in-laws come to be possessive, the forms are completely 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 at 18:38


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This conflict seems to count on a pair of printed authorities (like the Cambridge Guide), yet this building and construction is so low frequency that most grammars donʼt have any type of information top top it. Couple of native speakers ever before need to usage it, for this reason intuitions are hard to access.

The comment so much ignore the truth that syntax is no "flat"; grammar units are grouped into ordered units. The plural of noun belongs come the basic category the the noun, yet the genitive/possessive belongs come the entire noun phrase, as proven through phrases favor "the queen the England"s crown" (not *the queen"s the England crown): in<s crown>, the own S belongs to the phrase "the queen of England".

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So the many of "brother-in-law" (at least in the standard language) is "brothers-in-law", since the plural goes ~ above the ceiling noun. The possessive cannot be *brother"s-in-law; it needs to be "brother-in-law"s", and also that is what indigenous speakers say ("We saw my brother-in-law"s house").

By this logic, the plural possessive need to be "brothers-in-law"s" (no issue what any guide says!), but at least where i come from, the colloquial language resolves it together "brother-in-laws"". We have tendency not to non-standard many (e.g. Two brother-in-laws, two attorney generals). Let the purists cringe, but it"s a an ext natural, "English" solution.

The readers of this post should decide that they trust more--a pronouncement from a guide on a low-frequency construction, or the intuitions of millions of indigenous speakers the English. What would most human being produce and/or comprehend?