Possessives: Overuse of possessives

January 17, 2008: Issue 222

Avoid possessive forms where they’re not needed:

acceptable: the dining room’s ceiling
preferred: the dining room ceiling

acceptable: the living room’s white carpet
preferred: white carpet in the living room

Don’t let possessives stack up:

awkward: the butler’s pantry’s silver sink
preferred: the silver sink in the butler’s pantry

awkward: his mother’s garden’s prize-winning roses
preferred: prize-winning roses in his mother’s garden

And with proper names, avoid clumsy plural possessives when the name alone will do:

awkward: the Joneses’ home
preferred: the Jones home

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