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I'm not a native English speaker so I wanted to ask about something that I always hear being said.

The thing of somebody's.

Is this right? Shouldn't it be this way?

Somebody's thing.

Or

The thing of somebody.

Please answer because this is getting me confused.

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  • Perhaps you might do some research on possessives in English and then come back to us.
    – Lambie
    Commented Mar 5, 2018 at 0:21
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    What is sb supposed to mean?
    – Element115
    Commented Mar 5, 2018 at 1:12
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    It's also somebody. We often use sb as somebody, and also sth for something. @Element115
    – Maulik V
    Commented Mar 5, 2018 at 8:49
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    @Lambie I do know about possessives. I'm telling you that sounds bad to me as well. In fact, I claimed this was "something that I always hear being said".
    – Iaka Noe
    Commented Dec 30, 2018 at 14:37
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    @Lambie "Sweet child of mine" "You wouldn't know him, he's an old friend of mine"
    – Iaka Noe
    Commented Jan 16, 2019 at 19:26

1 Answer 1

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Based on these two examples: "Sweet child of mine" "You wouldn't know him, he's an old friend of mine"

One can say the following about these uses of these stand-alone possessive pronouns.

of mine, of theirs, of ours, of yours, of his, of hers, [of its, very unusual].

They are used when the referent (the person who one is referring belongs to a class of persons). It is used to be emphatic, or, in contrast to someone else or something else.

A friend of mine = One of my friends [same thing]

A friend of mine has that CD. = One of my friends has that CD. Those two sentences mean exactly the same thing.

This is very different from:

My friend's CD was not in her living room.

My friend's CD= the CD that belongs to my friend.

"He's an old friend of mine" , therefore, can be expressed as: He's one of my old friends. But cannot be expressed as using a noun plus apostrophe s and a noun, as in: my friend's CD.

This is all very standard English.

A friend of his came to the party late. = One of his friends came to the party late.

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  • I'll take this answer as correct but I do recall hearing things like "some CD of mine" (not specifically this phrase) other nouns that are not people. However, I assume these are colloquial and not actually valid.
    – Iaka Noe
    Commented Jan 18, 2019 at 17:46
  • "Some CD of mine was lost in the fire". "One of my CDs was lost in the fire". But: "Iaka's CD was lost in the fire" means something else. Is that clear now? Please try to understand that x of mine equals one of my x's. And that "someone's x" is not the same thing. None of these is colloquial. They are all very standard English.
    – Lambie
    Commented Jan 18, 2019 at 18:00
  • oh so now I actually understand what you were trying to explain. +1
    – Iaka Noe
    Commented Jan 18, 2019 at 20:26

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