I would like to know the correct usage when referring to the personal experience that belongs to a robot, is it:

  1. Manifestation of robot's personal experience
  2. Manifestation of robot personal experience ?

From a simple Google search, the word robot's experience seems to be used frequently. And also robot experience sounds a bit weird to me.

From this website, it is mentioned that apostrophe s is used to show that something belongs to someone or something. But I don't understand why the sentence "Britain’s coastline is very beautiful" is acceptable, but "the door’s handle" is not.

Can anyone give clear explanation about this?

  • 3
    You have misread the website. It does NOT say, "the door's handle" is unacceptable. The website says: "We don’t usually use the possessive ’s with things" – emphasis added – and "don't usually use" ≠ "is always wrong to use". If the website is correct, I'd expect "the door handle" to be less common than "the door's handle", and indeed that is what we find to be true.
    – J.R.
    Feb 24, 2015 at 11:42

3 Answers 3


Both the door handle and the door's handle are possible. When do we use the one over the other? That's an interesting question.

The palace was one grotesque extravagance after another. There was even a golden toilet. The toilet's handle was decorated with diamonds.

In the sentence above, we are considering the handle as a feature of that toilet in particular, hence the possessive.

He groped in the dark for the door handle.

In the sentence above, we are simply referring to the object that people grasp to open a door, not as a particular feature of that door; hence the use of the noun 'door' used attributively. You can think of 'door' there as if it were attached to the handle (literally and linguistically):


P.S. In fact, it used to common to connect an adjunct noun to the main noun with a hyphen, though that practice seems to be falling out of use.


"Manifestation of robot's personal experience" ought to have an article before "robot's". "this robot's" would indicate a specific unit's experience, while "a robot's" would indicate the experience of an unspecified unit's experience.

"Manifestation of robot personal experience" would refer to the personal experience of all robots.

"The door's handle" is not necessarily wrong because the emphasis can be on either "door" or "handle". For instance, "The door's handle was made of brass" is equivalent to "the door handle was made of brass", but the first phrase would be used as part of a description of door, while the second would concentrate on the handle. For instance, the first phrase might be found as part of "The door was made of polished mahogany, which contrasted pleasantly with the gleaming brass of the door's handle."

  • I just realized that the word "personal" indicates possession. So I was wondering if the 's in "Manifestation of a robot's personal experience" is redundant in this case? What do you think?
    – ferdi
    Feb 24, 2015 at 3:34
  • A robot is not a person. The possessive is needed; it's the "personal " that's wrong—not because it's redundant, but because it's not apt. Feb 24, 2015 at 9:24
  • At present, a robot is not a person. Feb 24, 2015 at 13:30

I assume that it's a matter of "one package"

In door's handle, you don't need to add ['s] since it is one "package".
That will be different when you say: [Britain’s coastline is very beautiful] where Britain has more than one coastlines, and this is not included as one package.

Other examples:

The door key. Not the door's key, even though, the key refers to the door.

generally, ['s] always used, as in:

  1. to shorten the auxiliary verb [has], [is] and [was]
  2. possessive adjective.

Based on your question, when someone use ['s] in robot's experience, it could say that the robot has behavior or attitude like man or woman and does something routine programmed and acts as the robot experience. therefore, in this case, it uses ['s] in robot. This makes different of other robots.

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