Can Cigarettes Possess Something?

Does your table have feelings?

Mignon Fogarty
1-minute read

Can Cigarettes Possess Something?

A while back I wrote about "cigarettes' dangers" and I was shocked when multiple people asked if it is possible to use the possessive with an inanimate object.

After doing some research, I confirmed that in the past some people were taught they could only use the apostrophe and 's' to show possession for people. That "rule" has fallen by the wayside. It is now fine to use the possessive for things like cigarettes, tables, and rocks:

  • the table's legs
  • the rock's cracks
  • cigarettes' dangers

Some people still prefer the "of" construction, and of course, it is also acceptable (although sometimes it sounds more natural than others):

  •  the legs of the table
  •  the cracks of (in?) the rock
  •  the dangers of cigarettes


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About the Author

Mignon Fogarty

Mignon Fogarty is the founder of Quick and Dirty Tips and the author of seven books on language, including the New York Times bestseller "Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing." She is an inductee in the Podcasting Hall of Fame, and the show is a five-time winner of Best Education Podcast in the Podcast Awards. She has appeared as a guest expert on the Oprah Winfrey Show and the Today Show. Her popular LinkedIn Learning courses help people write better to communicate better.