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I have heard people do this--make a noun that is modified with additional information (e.g. Aaron who didn't finish college's mom, The dog that is dirty's owner, etc.) possessive, but I don't think I've ever seen it in writing.

I might hear "the girls who live down the street's mother works three jobs," but written down the sentence would appear as: "The mother of the girls who live down the street works three jobs." This sounds fine to me, even better than the original sentence, but there are examples of sentences that become awkward from this rearrangement.

Is it considered wrong to use the possessive form on a noun that doesn't stand alone?

I wonder specifically about constructions in which the noun, before being put in the possessive form, has multiple words that come after it (What would you call this?). As shown in the examples above, this makes it so the apostrophe is attached to a word other than the target noun. In the examples I gave, these words are college, dirty, and street as opposed to Aaron, dog, and girls.

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There is no rule against applying both modifiers and a possessive form to thr same noun. In the case of

the girls who live down the street's mother works three jobs ...

while there is no grammatical error, the noun phrase is so long that the possessive feels bit awkward, and recasting probably improves the sentence. Here are some cases where it seems to me quite natural:

  • The green car's headlight
  • the old man's face
  • Old Man's War (title of a novel by John Scalzi)
  • The first born son's portion
  • The Republican Roman Senate's powers
  • a computer language's syntax.
  • The current United States Senate's voting procedures
  • The afternoon classical music concert's program
  • The evening Baltimore Orioles's baseball game
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    I didn't make this clear in the question, but I wonder specifically about constructions in which the noun has multiple words that come after it, making it so the apostrophe, indicating possession, is attached to a word other than the target noun. In the example I gave, this word is "street." – Ella Strange Jul 20 at 12:08
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    @ella Please edit this into the question. I will try to think of some good examples, but such constructionis are indeed permitted grammatically. – David Siegel Jul 20 at 12:41

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