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What exactly is happening? Hers and His sound correct; but why?

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  • Here's a handy description of "double genitive", with an example regarding pictures. Jan 23 '15 at 13:49
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    A picture of her means a picture in which she is shown and it does not say anything about who owns it. On the other hand, a picture of hers means a picture she owns, but it does not say who is in it.
    – JayHook
    Jan 23 '15 at 13:56
  • @JayHook you should make that an answer
    – Kevin
    Jan 23 '15 at 14:17
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    + a related question Jan 23 '15 at 14:20
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    @Kevin, I will make it an answer per your request. I hope nobody criticizes me for the duplicate posts.
    – JayHook
    Jan 23 '15 at 16:04
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A picture of her means a picture in which she is shown and it does not say anything about who owns it. On the other hand, a picture of hers means a picture she owns, but it does not say who is in it.

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"Send me a picture of hers" means to send me a picture that belong to her, or in which she was the photographer or artist (not sure if "picture" here means a photograph or a painting). "Send me a picture of her" means to send me a picture in which she is the subject, that is, she is the person (or one of the people) visible in the picture.

Similarly if you use a noun rather than a pronoun. "Send me a picture of Sally", I want a picture that shows what Sally looks like. "Send me a picture of Sally's", I want a picture that belongs to Sally or that was taken by Sally.

In context, "send me a picture of hers" could also mean that you want a picture that shows an object that belongs to her, or a person associated with her. It is short for "... of her X". Like, "I was thinking we could use Bob's house for the party, or we could use Sally's house." "I've seen Bob's house, but send me a picture of hers."

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