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I have heard this sentence in American colloquial language

Ask that assistant of yours.

or

I hate that friend of yours.

Now is the following sentence correct?

I will stay at the place of my friend's.

Does anybody know what type of grammatical structure is this?

  • 1
    "I will stay at my friend's place" is a more natural phrasing. – nnnnnn May 26 '16 at 8:35
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This sentence isn't correct. If you want to say this, you'll use:

I will stay at my friend's place.

A popular way to say it is also to remove 'place', leaving:

I will stay at my friend's.

Nonetheless, you could say:

I hate that place of yours.

To distant yourself from it and to show disdain towards it.

  • Thank you. So do you think "Ask the assistant of yours" conveys disdainful feelings about the Assistant? – Amin R. May 26 '16 at 9:34
  • I do. To me, ask that assistant of yours is typically something a jealous wife would say to her husband about his female assistant. – MadWard May 26 '16 at 9:35
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The first two sentences you provide are possessives:

Ask the assistant of yours.

I hate that friend of yours.

These are also possessives, and they mean the same thing:

Ask your assistant.

I hate your friend.

But I think what you're asking about are double possessives or double genitives.

A double possessive uses both forms of possessive at the same time. For example:

That book of David's is heavy

At first, this seems like a strange thing to do. Why would you use both possessive forms? The answer is that book of David is considered awkward, but that book of David's is not. This is an old construct dating back to Middle English, and that's why it might seem odd.

But why would you use it instead of using an apostrophe, which is the more common and accepted way? It just gives you a different option for communicating possessives; in some cases it might sound better and make the sentence flow more smoothly. It also draws more attention to the phrase, and it implies a familiarity with the object:

I love that sweet man of mine.

She lives in a world of her own.

There is a rule that states you should not use a double possessive if the object of the prepositional phrase is an inanimate object. So it'd be ungrammatical to say:

The laws of the church's (bad)

Instead, you can say:

The laws of the church

The church's laws

You might want to avoid double possessives, because a lot of them do sound awkward. There's no one rule that determines whether a double possessive sounds good or not. But nobody would say these:

I will stay at the place of my friend's. (bad)

I will stay at the place of my friend. (bad)

Instead, they would say:

I will stay at my friend's place.

You could say this, because possessive pronouns like "his" work better in double possessives:

I will stay at that place of his.

"That" usually sounds better than "the" in double possessives. In fact, "the" would sound awkward in the above sentence.

There's some more information on this page:

http://www.quickanddirtytips.com/education/grammar/double-possessives

  • "Ask the assistant of yours" sounds a little awkward, but "ask THAT assistant of yours" sounds OK. And yes, it could be a way to express disdain, but not definitely. That assistant of yours implies a familiarity with the assistant, but that familiarity could be positive or negative. For example: "That assistant of yours is just wonderful." – Ringo May 26 '16 at 9:38
  • I added a little more description as to why people would use double possessives. The more I think about them, the more I realize how strange they are. – Ringo May 26 '16 at 19:24
  • Thank you. There are other examples like "I went there with a friend of mine" which made me thought that this kind of structure conveys different meaning rather than be just an alternative to "I went there with my friend". Thank you anyway. I guess it takes me sometime to get used to this. – Amin R. May 26 '16 at 20:32
  • It does have slightly different meaning, in my opinion. A friend of mine draws a little more attention to itself than my friend. It puts a little more emphasis on the friend in the sentence. It also just sounds a little nicer, which is why I think it has survived through the centuries. In this case, it's iambic dimeter: literarydevices.net/iamb – Ringo May 26 '16 at 20:39

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