What's the difference in meaning between the following sentences:

1 Troubles of life can sometimes leave us with a frown.

2 life's troubles can sometimes leave us with a frown.

  • I think it is like sons of mother and mother's sons. I think we do not have the difference in meaning between them. Only in the usage. – Bharata Aug 16 '20 at 12:03
  • 1
    Nobody says "sons of mother". – Michael Harvey Aug 16 '20 at 12:23
  • @MichaelHarvey, I have found in Google 1 600 000 results of "sons of mother". Are they all wrong? Btw.: would you like to undownvote my question please, if it was you? ;-) – Bharata Aug 16 '20 at 12:51
  • 1. Your Google results do not show what you seem to think they do. 2. What question? – Michael Harvey Aug 16 '20 at 12:55
  • The main difference is that nobody speaks about troubles of life. It's not idiomatic. The expression life's troubles is common. – Ronald Sole Aug 16 '20 at 13:16

English has two ways to convey possession: the possessive, or 'possessive case', which is usually formed with the use of an apostrophe and an 's'. The other way is by using 'of', which is more similar to how other European languages indicate possession.

For an English language learners' site, it's probably least confusing to give the following broad rules (depending on how advanced your English is).

  1. In simple cases of possession, most speakers will prefer the 'apostrophe S' approach: "Life's troubles".
  2. In most simple cases of possession, "The X of Y" and "Y's X" mean the same thing. But there are exceptions to this rule. Also, note the use of 'the'.

Saying "The X of Y" will often sound strange to English speakers, even though it is grammatical and entirely understood.

So your two sentences mean exactly the same thing, but you need 'the' at the start of the first sentence, and it would be extremely unlikely to be spoken or written by a native speaker.

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