I still cannot master which form of nouns (singular or plural) should be placed before and after the preposition "of".

For example, if I want to refer to one book of each student, which one is correct:

A book of students
Books of students

And if I want to refer to the books of each student. Which one is correct?

Books of the student
Books of students

  • Is the context real or artificial. I mean were you in real life talking about the students' books? This kind of question comes up very often, and I suspect only in artificial contexts.
    – James K
    Commented Jun 4, 2021 at 16:34
  • 2
    each student's books//a student's books. Forget "of" here. It simply would not work idiomatically.
    – Lambie
    Commented Jun 4, 2021 at 16:37

1 Answer 1


"A book of students" makes little sense. It could mean several students bound together into a book. But probably you mean "one book owned by the many students

"Books of students" is the same. I assume you want to refer to "multiple books owned by multiple students". This could be one book each or several books each.

If you want to refer in a fairly simple way to the one book that each student owns then "Each student's book" is clear, as is "the book of each student". However in practice this problem doesn't arise.

Each student will receive a book and they should write their name inside the cover of the book.

Do you see? I referred to one book of each student and I didn't use "of" or "student's"

Similarly "the books of the students" might mean one book each or many books each, but this is not a problem.

The number of books that the students are carrying now is terrible. Why don't we get some more lockers installed before they break their backs!

Again I referred to the books of each student but I didn't use the word "of".

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