In this example I want to express that Bob's profession is teacher and that he is from Germany. Can I put it like this:

Bob from Germany's profession is teacher."

Or what are the alternatives?

Thanks in advance.

  • What do you mean from Germany? Is Bob a German? I don't know if any German would be named 'Bob'. Or perhaps Bob was born of non-German parents who were living in Germany when Bob was born; but in this case, Bob would have to have lived in Germany for some time before you can say he's from Germany. Third, Bob could be an an adult, non-German who has lived in Germany long enough to make it his home. Jul 14, 2016 at 15:04

2 Answers 2


You can and should put the 's there; it is attached to the entire noun phrase:

[NPBob from Germany]'s profession ...
[NPAnne and Alice]'s restaurant ...
[NPThe man in the suit]'s umbrella ...

This gets a little hard to parse with long postmodifiers, however:

[NPThe guy I met when I was on sabbatical in Germany last year]'s profession ...

and there's really no graceful way to handle NPs that involve nominative pronouns, especially at the end of the phrase:

??[NPHarry and I]'s company ...
??[NPHarry and me]'s company ...
??[NPHarry and my] company ...

If you find yourself boxed into one of these corners you're better off finding another way of saying it.

Note that as @tom suggests there are many many ways of combining these two pieces of information. The way you have elected to express it presupposes that your hearer already knows who Bob is and knows that Bob is from Germany; the new information you provide is Bob's profession.

If, on the other hand, your hearer already knows that Bob is a teacher and you want to tell her where Bob comes from, you might say "Bob the teacher is from Germany."

If your hearer only knows who Bob is and you want to tell her both Bob's profession and Bob's origin, you might say "Bob is a teacher from Germany". (You might also say "Bob is a German teacher", but in writing that would be ambiguous: is Bob a teacher of the German language or a German who teaches some unspecified subject? In speech, however, the two readings have different tonal contours.)

And these only scratch the surface. @tom gives you some more possibilities, and here are even more:

Bob's from Germany, and he's a teacher.
Bob's a teacher, from Germany.
Bob's German; his profession is teacher.
Bob's profession is teacher; he's from Germany.
Bob's German; he teaches.

...and so forth.

@AlanCarmack points out quite accurately that from Germany may not mean that Bob is German. That he is German is merely an implicature of from Germany, not an entailment, and may be contextually 'cancelled': he may be "Bob who now lives in Germany" or "Bob who's from our German office", or something of that sort.

  • BTW question, It seems OP wants to refer to a specific Bob among several possible Bobs! ; Is it wrong to say "[The bob from Germany]'s profession is .."?
    – Cardinal
    Jul 14, 2016 at 11:41
  • 1
    @Cardinal That may or may not be the case--from Germany may be intended only to remind the hearer who Bob is, not to distinguish him from other Bobs--but if (and only if) it is the case, the would be appropriate. Jul 14, 2016 at 12:37
  • We don't know if Bob is German or not. Jul 14, 2016 at 15:08
  • @AlanCarmack Bob from Germany presupposes that knowledge--from Germany there is attributive, not predicative. Jul 14, 2016 at 15:18
  • We certainly do not know if Bob from Germany means Bob's a German or a non-German. He could be an adult, non-German who's lived there long enough to call it home, or at least for others to designate him as 'being from' there. Jul 14, 2016 at 15:30
Bob from Germany's profession is teacher."

That does not sound quite correct. These are possible alternatives:

Bob who is from Germany is a teacher.

Bob is a teacher from Germany.

There is no real need for the genitive in this case.

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