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I know that a sentence like "My cat's head is black" is correct, because the head is that of a specific cat.

But what if I want to write "I found a lizard's tail under my bed"? In this case the tail is not of a specific lizard I'm referring to, it's from a generic lizard.

Is the 's after lizard correct, or should I drop it?

What if I want to use this form in a list?

  • Cat's head
  • Lizard's tail
  • Dog's paw

Thank you in advance!

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It is not ungrammatical to use the possessive in that context, but since you do not have a specific lizard in mind, it would be more idiomatic to say

"I found a lizard tail under the bed".

Or

"I found a bird feather on the ground".

Concoctions brewed up by witches and warlocks use the periphrastic possessive without article:

eye of newt

toe of frog

to refer to the generic ingredient.

In normal non-concoction circumstances you can say

"I found the tail of a lizard under the bed."

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  • "Concoctions brewed up by witches and warlocks" Actually I needed for something like this. The coincidences! :)
    – FraNe91
    Jul 27 '17 at 11:03

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