Lesson Transcript

Hi, everybody! My name is Alisha.
In this lesson, I'm going to talk about when to use "'s"and when to use "of."
Let's get started!
First, I want to talk about the situations when we use "'s."
So, we commonly refer to this as the possessive form.
So we attach "'s" to some noun or a noun phrase. We use "'s" when we're talking about something that belongs to another person. So, when I say something that belongs to another person, this can mean an object like a pen or a shirt or it can mean something about that person's physical appearance. "Physical appearance" means the way they look or it can be about their personality, so what kind of personality does that person have, what are their characteristics. So we use "'s" when we're referring to these kinds of things relating to people.
Let's look at some examples of this.
First, this group of examples features "'s" including an object.
So, for example:
"My brother's car, my mom's favorite album, or my friend's keys."
We use "'s" because this is an object that belongs to a person. If I use "of" in these sentences, it would sound very unnatural.
For example:
"The car of my brother" or "the favorite album of my mom" or "the keys of my friend."
It sounds very unnatural to use these kinds of patterns. So because we're talking about objects that belong to a person, use the possessive form, this "'s."
Let's look at some more examples.
These are things, again, objects that belong to another person, in this case, not just, "my, my, my" but another person outside us.
For example:
"Your roommate's computer" or "His girlfriend's water bottle."
So again, we're talking about objects that belong to a person, even if that person is outside us, unrelated to us, we use "'s" to naturally show possession, to naturally show ownership.
Finally, down here, let's look at some examples that talk about someone's personality or their characteristics.
"My friend's personality" or "His mother's cleanliness" or "His father's beard."
This is not a personality point. This is a physical appearance point, but you can see how in all of these example sentences, we continue to use the "'s" to show ownership. So this, "my friend's personality" means the personality belonging to my friend, or "His mother's cleanliness." This shows the cleanliness belonging to his mother. This beard here belongs to the speaker's friend's, perhaps, father. So we're using this "'s" to show ownership of something. So, please make sure to use "'s" in situations such as this.
Another important point about "'s" use is that "'s" is commonly used with time periods. So time periods means like days or weeks or months, for example. It can also mean points in time or periods of time in a day.
For example:
"This morning's meeting."
Here, "morning" is my time period or my point in time in this case.
"This morning's meeting."
This means, the meeting that happened this morning or the meeting that's going to happen this morning. So we can think of this as a meeting belonging to this morning. We use "'s" to show this. We do not say, "The meeting of this morning." It sounds very unnatural.
Another example:
"The year's best music."
So here, I have this time period, "the year," the last year or this year perhaps, "'s" best music. So this means, the best music belonging to the year. We would not say the best music of the year necessarily. I suppose you could, but in lots of marketing materials, you see this "'s" used. It kind of shows a little bit of closeness, the possessive form.
Okay, the next one:
"This evening's menu."
So again, the menu which belongs to this evening. This is one that you might also see used with the "of" pattern perhaps. So, using the "of" pattern kind of makes things like this sound a little bit more formal or a little bit more polite.
So for example:
"The menu of this evening."
It might not be so natural or "the menu of the evening" might be something you could hear, but the reason that we don't use "of" as often perhaps, in situations such as this is because it tends to make the situation sound a little more formal or a little more polite. So when I said, in this example sentence, "the best music of the year," you might hear that, for example, at an award ceremony like "the best artist of the year" or "artist of the year," something like that has a little bit of importance to it. When we want to give more importance to something, we might use the "of" pattern. So these are two situations where you might see that. We would not do it in the situations I've talked about or the situations I spoke about earlier, when talking about things belonging to people.
There are some cases where we might use an "of" pattern when talking about time periods. So these are maybe a couple of cases where you may see "of" used. Okay, so we can use this with time periods as well and it is commonly used with time periods.
Let's compare this then to situations where we use "of."
So, "of" is used when explaining something that is part of or belongs to something larger. So note, yes, I'm using this, "belongs to here," but this is for, like objects. So not things that belong to people. This is for like, perhaps organizations or, as I said, objects.
Let's take a look at some examples of this.
"The leader of the group" or "the end of the video" or "the top of the mountain."
So in each of these situations, we're expressing, like a relationship between a part and a whole. In the first example sentence, "the group," "the group" is my whole and "the leader" is one part. So we often us "of" when we're talking about like the top person in an organization or in a group, so this is why we use like "leader of the group" or if you've watched the video about using "of" on this channel, "the Queen of England" or "the head of the company." Those are expressions we use to talk about the top person in a group, so they are part of a group or an organization.
The second example, "the end of the video" refers to one part of the video. So we watch the video, watch the video, watch the video. This part here is the end part of the video. We use "of" to show that relationship.
Finally, "the top of the mountain."
"The top of the mountain," again, if we imagine a mountain and we imagine one part, we can describe that with "of" connecting that name "top" to the name of the whole mountain, "the top of the mountain."
Of course, there are some cases where we choose to phrase things a little bit differently, for example, "the mountain top" is a word. But in these cases, it's more natural to use "of" than it is to use "'s." So, for example, if I said, "the mountain's top," it wouldn't sound as natural as "the top of the mountain." If I said, "the video's end," it wouldn't sound as natural as "the end of the video." "The group's leader" could be okay because it's related to a person, but you might hear this one a little more often, "the leader of the group."
Okay. With that in mind, let's look at another way that we use "of."
We use "of" when explaining what something is made from. So we use this when talking about material. So if I want to talk about the material my shirt is made from, I could use "of" to describe that.
Let's look at some examples though.
"A necklace of gold."
"A sweater (made) of wool."
"Shoes (made) of leather."
So here, in these examples, I'm talking about materials; gold, wool, and leather. You'll notice that I've got (made) in parentheses here. We can drop that "made" because this use "of" is showing us what something is made from, so not everybody chooses to include "made," but you can.
So, "a necklace of gold" means a necklace made from gold. "A sweater made of wool" means a sweater made from wool, so that's another way to say it. Both are fine. You can choose which you prefer. "Shoes made of leather." So, we're connecting the material to the object with "of" here.
So, again, this is not a situation where we would use this possessive form, but actually here, there's no possession happening. The necklace is not possessing gold or the sweater is not possessing wool. Rather, we're talking about the components, the pieces, that work together to create this other thing. So definitely, do not use "'s" in situations such as these.
So, I hope that this lesson gives you a guideline for when to use "'s" and when to use "of." Remember, "'s" is great to use and very natural to use when you're talking about people and things that belong to people. Remember, use "of" when you're talking about something that is part of something else or when you're describing the materials that are used to make something.
So if you have any questions or comments or if you want to practice making some sentences with this grammar, please feel free to do so in the comment section of this video. Thanks very much for watching this lesson and I will see you again soon. Bye-bye!