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And he gave the boy his belessing. The boy could see in his father' s gaze a desire to be able, himself, to travel the world- a desire that was still alive, despite his father' s having had to bury it, over dozens of years, under the burden of struggeling for water to drink, food to eat, and the same place to sleep every night of his life.

Is " ' s" here "is" ? if it is "is", is there special grammer that follows this rule --> "to be verbs(am, is, are)+having+pp+to+simple verb " ? Could anyone explain me when we use this structure?

Sorry if I made some mistakes, my English is not perfect. Lots of thanks for your help.


This text is from the book named " The Alchemist" by "Paulo Coelho"

marked as duplicate by FumbleFingers, Nathan Tuggy, Andrew, choster, shin Jul 14 '18 at 6:46

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You can form a sentence using "has to". *The father has to bury his desire". The subject is "the father" and uses the basic form of the noun.

The noun phrase uses a gerund: "having". And a gerund functions like a noun. The word that would normally be the subject of the verb ("the father") is instead acting as the owner of the noun ("the father's having")

The "'s" is not an abbreviation of is, but the ending of the possessive. Just as we could talk about "The father's car" or the "the father's *desire to travel", we can talk about "The father's having to bury his desire

Grammar girl discusses this topic, and clarifies why "I hate the baby crying" and "I hate the baby's crying" are subtly different.

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You are asking why, in the sentence...

...despite his father' s having had to bury it...

... the word "father" is used in the possessive, with an apostrophe s.

Looking at the quote in full, there are other mistakes - "struggeling" is a spelling error for a start. But I'll focus my answer on the expression "despite his father's having had to bury it".

It isn't incorrect, perhaps not the best formal way of expressing this in writing. Very often though a writer will try to capture a mode of natural, colloquial speaking, and this may be an example of that.

You could say:

despite his father having to bury it

or

despite the fact his father had to bury it

But when you use "having had" you are speaking about a past responsibility, and a responsibility is something that you can possess. As his father had that responsibility, it is quite correct to say "despite his father's having had to bury it".

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