The category of Case shows the relations of living beings, things or notions denoted by nouns to other living beings, things and notions. In English this category is characterized by the opposition of the categorial forms of the Common Case (общий падеж) and the Possessive or Genitive Case (притяжательный падеж). The strong member of the opposition is the Possessive Case with the formal mark — ‘(s) while its weak or unmarked member is the Common Case. Compare: the man’s wife — the wife of the man I know well; a week’s holiday — days of the week.
Since the category of Case relates nouns to other parts of a sentence it appears to be syntactically bound. In other words the realization of the category in the forms of the Common and Possessive Case is indissolubly connected with the syntactic functions of the noun.
Common Case: the syntactic functions of nouns
The Common Case has a very wide and general meaning and manifests itself in a number of various syntactic functions of nouns which are defined by the word order and prepositions.
The first and most typical syntactic function performed by nouns in the Common Case is the subject — the primary part of the sentence which precedes the predicate: Man changes in a changing world. The world is changing.
The second syntactic function of the noun in the Common Case is part of the compound nominal predicate or predicative when it follows a link-verb: / am a teacher. It was bad weather yesterday. They have breakfast at eight о ‘clock.
The third syntactic function of nouns in the Common Case is the object — the secondary part of the sentence which follows the predicate. The object may be either direct (прямое дополнение), i.e. used immediately after transitive verbs (переходные глаголы} or indirect (косвенное дополнение) when placed between a transitive verb and its direct object. For example: I gave my friend the book. Did you send Susan a birthday card? In these sentences book and birthday card are the direct objects while friend and Susan — the indirect objects. With verbs
like give, hand, direct, send and so on direct and indirect objects may change their places in the sentence: I gave the book to my friend. Did you send a birthday card to Susan? As the examples show the indirect objects friend and Susan are used with the preposition and therefore called prepositional indirect objects.
Not infrequently nouns turn out to be syntactically associated either with the infinitive or present participle as parts of the pattern called Complex Object. For example: I saw my friend cross/crossing the street. I heard the key turn/turning in the keyhole.
Besides, when used with a preposition, nouns in the Common case may fulfil the function of adverbial modifier, i.e. a word or group of words that gives additional information about the time, place or circumstances in which the action is going on: Mary had a holiday in summer. She went to the seaside by train. She lived in a little cottage by the sea. She stayed at the cottage for two weeks.
The noun in the Common Case can be used as attribute when a) it is used with the preposition of. a cup of coffee, a member of the club, head of the department. sounds of speech: b) it precedes and describes another noun and forms with it the unstable compound: a coffee pot, a club bar, a head boy, department stores, speech sounds.
The Possessive case expresses possession in the broadest sense of the word: a man’s coat, a man’s hand, a man’s life, a dog’s bowl, a dog’s tail, etc.
Grammatically the Possessive case is indicated either by a) adding to nouns ‘s (apostrophy and ‘s) or by b) adding -‘ (apostrophy only). The apostrophy followed by ‘s is added to 1) nouns in the singular: a man’s coat, the actress’s voice, a dog’s bowl, 2) nouns in the plural which form their plural number by the non-productive means, i.e. without the suffix — (e)s: women’s dresses, children’s toys, 3) nouns in the plural which in singular have the final -5: actresses’ voices, The apostrophy without -s is added to nouns in the plural: teachers’ advice, the students ‘ books, dogs’ bowls.
Some proper names ending in -s admit of both – ‘s and -‘: Burns’s poems — Burns’poems, Dickens’s novels — Dickens’ novels.
Irrespective of the given types of spelling both ‘s and ‘ are pronounced in the same way as the mark of the plural number, i.e. a) [z] after vowels and voiced consonants: teacher’s, dog’s, b) Is] after voiceless consonants: student’s, c) [iz] after sibilants: actress’s, actresses’, fox’s, foxes’, Burns’, Dickens’s.
However, the Possessive case form of plural nouns tends to be pronounced [iz] to differentiate it from that of singular nouns. Compare: the politician’s wife [z] — the politicians‘ wives [iz].
As it follows from the examples illustrating the use of the Possessive case in English, the grammatical form in question is chiefly expressed by animate nouns — human or more rarely by non-human both common and proper nouns. Besides, a few groups of inanimate nouns which are able to take the form of the Possessive case may be singled out. They are: a) inanimate abstract nouns denoting a certain period of time such as moment, minute,
hour, day, night, morning, evening, week, year, month
(names of months including), season (names of seasons including), century and so on; b) personified nouns used in spoken language or in fiction, mainly in poetry: 1) sun, moon, earth, river, water, ocean, world, wind, 2) ship, boat, vessel, etc.; 3) country, city, town (names of towns and countries including); 4) abstract nouns like duty, music, death. For example: a week’s holiday, year’s absence, a winter’s day, night’s rest, wind’s rustle, river’s brink, ship’s crew, town’s busy streets, duty’s call, music’s voice.
The possessive ‘s can be used with no following noun: Whose is that? — Mary’s.
The ‘s possessive is also used without a following noun in several other cases. Shops are usually referred to in this way: a baker’s, a butcher’s, the barber’s, the hairdress’s, i.e. л baker’s, a butcher’s, etc. shop.
People’s places of living can be referred to in this way when the host-guest relationship is meant: at my brother’s (i.e. at my brother’s place).