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The oblique genitive in English

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Abstract

The English oblique genitive construction, illustrated by examples such as <i>a friend of the Prime Minister&#8217;s</i>, has variously been analysed as a conditioned variant of the subject-determiner construction (<i>the Prime Minister&#8217;s friend</i>), as a conditioned variant of the <i>of</i>-oblique (<i>a friend of the Prime Minister</i>), or as an equivalent of the partitive (<i>one of the Prime Minister&#8217;s friends</i>). Alternatively, the oblique genitive has also been treated as an independent construction which in different ways competes with the rest. In this paper, using both the British National Corpus and web-based examples, we examine the extent of variation permitted by the oblique genitive, and conclude that its treatment as an independent construction is the correct one.

References

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