In spoken English if for example: someone says “cars tires” then how to know if the speaker is talking about car’s tires or cars’ tires. Because the pronunciation is same for both.


There is no way to tell. You have to determine it from context (were we previously talking about one car or several cars?). If you are speaking and want to make it clear you could say something like "the tires of all the cars" or "the blue car's tires" (in the case where there's only one blue car we might be talking about) .

  • Perhaps a better example would be "the tires of the blue car"
    – jonathanjo
    Jan 13 '20 at 12:25
  • @jonathanjo that sentence doesn't have any ownership apostaphies in it, the "tires" can only mean plural. And we usually say tyres are ON cars unless they are stacked in a pile in the corner. "what them? they are the tyres from the vauxhall"
    – WendyG
    Jan 13 '20 at 16:34
  • @WendyG, not using the apostrophe is part of why it avoids the ambiguity that was asked about.
    – The Photon
    Jan 13 '20 at 16:47

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