Careful how you use the word “of” (part 2)

My previous post on this subject looked at using ’s instead of of in phrases like “the claimant’s attorney”.

Here are some of the examples I gave you last time, plus some more examples:

BAD STYLE                                                                 GOOD STYLE
the decision of the regulatory authority          => the regulatory authority’s decision
the approval of the Management Board         => the Management Board’s approval
the consent of the Meeting of Shareholders   => the consent of the Shareholders’ Meeting
the representative of the Company                  => the Company’s representative
the total remuneration of the Contractor       => the Contractor’s total remuneration

Note that all these examples refer to a person or a group of people – i.e. the claimant, the regulatory authority, the Management Board, the Shareholders’ Meeting, the Company and the Contractor.

Now look at this sentence:

The contractor submitted the architectural design together with the interior’s design covering the investment’s first and second stages.

What is wrong with it? It uses ’s instead of of, so why is this bad style?

The reason is that there are no people involved in the word ending with ’s.

The contractor submitted the architectural design together with the design of the interior covering the first and second stages of the investment.

Here are some other examples:

BAD STYLE                                     GOOD STYLE
German law’s perspective       => the perspective of German law
the contract’s termination       => the termination of the contract
the claim’s rejection                  => the rejection of the claim
the contract’s annex                  => the annex to / of the contract
the judgement’s date                 => the date of the judgement
the plans’ realisation                 => the realisation of the plans

There are no people involved in any of these examples, so it is better to use of instead of ’s.

I should add, however, that this is a general rule, and there are exceptions to it. But if you follow this rule, it should – most of the time – make your writing easier to read.

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