6

Which one is correct or are both correct?

The boy's name is nice.
The name of the boy is nice.

I'm really confused these two sentences? Which one is more suitable?

  • 1
    Are you saying that you like the name? Because right now, it's ambiguous and sounds like you could be saying that his name is, literally, "Nice". – Catija May 31 '16 at 20:17
10

"The name of the boy" and "the boy's name" are both grammatical, and in many contexts have the same meaning. But not all. ("The name of boy" is not grammatical).

In most contexts, even formal or literary ones, we would say "The boy's name" rather than "the name of the boy".

So "The boy's name is Michael" is quite normal, and "The name of the boy is Michael" is a bit unusual, but perfectly understandable and grammatical.

But, oddly, your example doesn't quite work: "The boy's name is nice" is fine, but "The name of the boy is nice" sounds very odd to me. I can't quite define why, I'm afraid: I just expect "The name of the boy is" to be followed by the name, and nothing else.

  • This is a perfectly good answer - I'd just like to add that the second option seems a bit weird because it is just unnecessarily long. Generally we should try to keep things as short as possible so we don't confuse the subjects. e.g. 'the tree's fruit is ripe' is quicker to read than 'the fruit of the tree is ripe' – Inazuma May 31 '16 at 22:07
  • @Inazuma It depends. The day of the jackal is upon us sounds better to me than The jackal's day is upon us. – Alan Carmack Jun 1 '16 at 1:52
  • 1
    @AlanCarmack That is why I made the generalisation. 'The day of the jackal' mostly sounds better if you are saying it in a formal setting, and I think OP's post was taken mostly in a conversational setting. For example, 'the jackal's day was going well' once again sounds better than the longer form, but 'the day of the battle had arrived' or 'the battle day had arrived' are both appropriate, depending on the impact you want to make. – Inazuma Jun 1 '16 at 2:08
  • What if I want to say that the boy's name is nice (means, I liked it). See that the 'n' is not capital. So, 'nice' is an adjective and not a proper noun! – Maulik V Jun 1 '16 at 7:45
  • @Maulik: We can't hear capital letters! But, the answer, as I said, is just what you said in the comment. – Colin Fine Jun 1 '16 at 12:44
1
+25

the question is about the Possessive structures in English - use of of and 's. both "The boy's name" and "The name of the boy" are ok as the possessor in this case is animate. However, there is a difference in emphasis. "The boy's name" emphasizes the possessor, which is the boy. whereas "The name of the boy" emphasizes the quality or attribute, which is the name (which makes you think more you are actually asking the name itself than if the name is nice).

please refer to http://linguapress.com/grammar/possessives.htm for more details.

1

Generally the former is preferable, but the latter is more useful if you really want to call out the specific name. For example, a famous live album from 1982 is called, "The Name of This Band is Talking Heads," which makes a point of communicating the band's name to people who had never heard of them (which would have been most people at that point).

http://pitchfork.com/reviews/albums/8266-the-name-of-this-band-is-talking-heads/

0

Both sentences are grammatically correct.

In this particular case, I would use either

Nice is the boy's name.

or

Nice is the name of the boy.

to prevent the ambiguity of the adjective (nice) with normal people names.

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