How can I rewrite this sentence?

1- He gave a letter to the wife of the king of the Island.

I can think of:

2- He gave a letter to the island king's wife.

3- He gave a letter to the King of the island's wife.

How it should be if we try to write it with the possessive form ('S) ? and what is the difference between these two forms if any ?

ِAlso, what if the king's wife was tall or short ? what is the different ways to add this as well ?

Thank you

  • 1
    No.1 is correct. The shorter the better, so he gave a letter to the wife of the island's king is best. Adding 's to island corrects no. 2. Using double 's is correct but awakward and so better avoided. Sentence 3 is correct but should be avoided as it's confusing. It can also mean this: The letter was given to the king of the wife living in that island.
    – Rose
    Feb 2, 2017 at 3:30
  • Thank you very much Rose, it is very helpful, but can you explain the double meaning in sentence 3, how do you get the idea that the wife is living in the island ? Feb 2, 2017 at 4:19
  • 1
    Suppose Jack is a man who has two wives, W1 who is from country X but who also lives in a foreign island I, and W2 who lives in the countryside. King K is the king of country X. The king is on a visit to I. While being there, he was given the letter. So, the letter was given to the king of the Island's wife.
    – Rose
    Feb 2, 2017 at 4:38
  • Thank you again for your brilliant explanation, its so clear for me now. Feb 2, 2017 at 4:45
  • You're most welcome :)
    – Rose
    Feb 2, 2017 at 5:00

1 Answer 1


The first is better.

The second is also fine in this case, though it sounds awkward. As written, it could mean "the King who rules the wife-of-the-island." Common sense avoids that here, but it wouldn't always.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .