Como diferenciar o uso entre "from", "of" e " 's "

Gabi 1 1 19
I guess I was mistaught at school when I'd supposedly to have learnt the differences between the use of "from", "of" and " 's". Because I learnt that 's would be used only for people possession, "of" for other things and "from" I've always used when I believe it suits better.

But it turned out that my difficult is me prejudicando (because I still getting a conclusion about it through the forum). And I need to sort out this problem. It a quite annoying for me still not to know. I'd looked it up in the dictionary but I can't completely understand their differences.

  • Joana's book.
  • My dog's leash.
  • A night's sleep.

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5 respostas
Marcio_Farias 1 24 214
Not only does 's apply to people's possessions, relationships and physical characteristics, but also to an animal's, a country's, an organization's or other living creatures'.

You see my father's brand-new car. (Not ... the brand-new car of my father)
João's brother teaches English as a second language. (Not ... the brother of João)
Zé Bonito's eyes blinked. (Not ... the eyes of Zé Bonito)
Ubiraci saw something wrong with the cat's right hind paw. It bled profusely. (Not ... the right hind paw of the cat)

Curiously enough, however, there exists a song that goes "... the eyes of the tiger," just where you'd expect "the tiger's eyes." Go figure.

Can you name Brazil's main exports? (Not ... the main exports of Brazil)
The government's decision sounded extremely unwise. (Not ... the decision of the government). Here you wouldn't probably say, "the decision from the government" either. I don't know why not, but native speakers of English probably do. They've safely sailed the meandering rivers of possessives since berth, so they must know when (and where) to employ 's or of.

The grammar book I checked says unfortunately, it cannot give useful general rules in this area, the choice of structure (why not "the structure's choice"?) often depending on the particular expression.

Other forum users should give you further explanations. Other forum users' explanations should clarify it further for you.
Gabi 1 1 19
Alright, thanks a lot
for the explanation and I'll read thoroughly the information on that website.
maryziller 1 2
Englishclub says that the 's is more commonly used that the of collocation.

Michael Swan, in Practical English Usage, says the we use 'of' when we want to use a/an or this/that with a possessive.

Ex.: She is a cousin of John's, _________ not _____. She is a John's cousin.

Example from the internet:

This idea of yours, that cat of Mary’s, these shoes of John’s, those dirty socks of yours.
Marcio_Farias 1 24 214
I too have a copy of Michael Swan's Practical English Usage handy at all times. It has seen some use already.
Flavia.lm 1 10 100
Sobre o mesmo assunto, leiam: OF and ‘S, the Genitive Case