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Can a possessive S be attached to nouns that are not human beings (or animals)?

For example, instead of saying "the back of the chair", can I say "the chair's back"?

I remember learning that not everything can get a possessive s, but this issue is not clear to me.

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    The possessive 's can be applied to anything, not just living things. Some people think it's bad form to use it with inanimate objects, but it's not a rule; you can use it with anything and be grammatically correct. – stangdon Nov 14 '16 at 19:09
  • Thank you. so then can I use it also for plural forms - such as: "people's money" (instead of "money of the people")? – Scarcely Ponder Nov 14 '16 at 19:48
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    Yes, it can be used with plural forms too, although if the word ends with s we just add an apostrophe instead of apostrophe s: people's money, boys' clothes, cats' feet, oxen's horns, etc. – stangdon Nov 14 '16 at 19:55
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    The possessive can be used with any noun, but for many nouns it's more common to use "of" when describing composition (e.g. the back of the chair) – eques Nov 16 '16 at 17:08
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You can use it with any noun phrase, animate or not; but there is a tendency to use it with things that have volition (people, animals, organisations).

So if I search for "chair's" in the NOW corpus, there are 613 hits; but (on my count) 94 out of the first 100 are using "chair" in its sense of "chairman/chairwoman of a meeting or organisation", and only six mean an inanimate object.

Similarly, "street's" gets 6262 hits, but almost every one is following a name (a third of those are "Wall Street's", and another 800 are "Coronation Street's", "Sesame Street's" or "Downing Street's" - all of these are or can be quasi-persons.)

Having said that, "car's" and "kitchen's" (for example) certainly do get some hits.

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