Here are my constructions:

  1. As I said, I am present in territory of the European Union's , therefore, please contact me only via e-mail at [email address].
  2. As I said, I am present in territory of the European Union, therefore, please contact me only via e-mail at [email address].

So my question is, should I use 'the European Union's' or 'the European Union'?


Apostrophe ('s) talks about possession. Looking at your sentence, I don't think you mean that. Check out two sentences to clear whether to use it or not.

This is the territory of the European Union


This is ‎‎the European Union's territory

Broadly, when you use '...of the...', it won't take apostrophe. Because you already said that possession.

However, there's something called double genitive/possessive, that uses 'of...'s' constructions. Merriam-Webster describes it.

a syntactic construction in English in which possession is marked both by the preposition of and a noun or pronoun in the possessive case (as in “A friend of Bob's is a friend of mine”) —called also double possessive.

[But again, to stay unambiguous, I'd prefer to avoid this usage].

Good read here.

  • 1
    It's called (by some) "double genitive". Check out the tag I've added to the post of Heniek's. (0: Nov 3 '14 at 11:03
  • @CopperKettle Hey, I think it'll be useful to include this. Thanks
    – Maulik V
    Nov 3 '14 at 11:51


  1. (?)That is the book of Peter.
  2. (*)That is the Peter's book.
  3. That is Peter's book.
  4. (?)That is the book of Peter's.

  5. (*)That is a book of Peter.

  6. (*) That is a Peter's book.
  7. That is a book of Peter's.

We normally use the 's structure, rather than of when we talk about possessions, relationships and physical characteristic, especially when the 'possessor' noun refers to a person, animal or to a country, organisation or other group of creatures [see Swan (2005.440), Practical English Usage]. That is why sentence 3 is natural and sentences 1 and 5 are not. However when the 'possessor' noun is not a person but one of the other types mentioned, both the of and the 's constructions are possible: The President of Russia and Russia's President.

We cannot usually put a possessive between another determiner and a noun. Instead, we use a structure with of + possessive (Swan p.443). Sentences 2 and 6 are therefore incorrect English. Sentence 7 is natural. The definite article defines its noun, and sentence 4 is therefore unnatural, though That is the book of Peter's that I was talking about is acceptable, as the definite article defines one of several of Peter's books.

So, That is the territory of Canada/ the European Union/the United Kingdom and That is Canada's/ the European's Union's/The United Kingdom's territory are possible as is That is Canadian/European Union/United Kingdom territory. In that last sentence, 'European Union' and 'United Kingdom' function adjectivally.

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