warningsignOf or 'S

A common doubt among learners of English is when to use of + noun, and when to use 's.

Both indicate possession or having, but there are slight differences. Inanimate objects usually take the of + noun structure and animate objects the 's, but there are exceptions. 


1. In long phrases

That's my sister's cousin (short)

That's the cousin of my friend who studies law (long)

...summed up the mindset of many Spanish youngsters ( ...many Spanish youngsters' mindset is possible, but awkward)


2. Friend of

He's my mum's friend 

He's a friend of my mum's


3. Places and objects personified to give more feeling of belonging, or when the noun is central to the conversation or description and/or is being mentioned again.

a) The climate in Britain

Britain's climate

b) The best club in Madrid

Madrid's best club

c) The iPhone has a great screen, but the Samsung is a more attractive phone. The iPhone's cover is nicer, though. (The iPhone cover is also correct, but places less emphasis on the iPhone and simply describes the type of cover.)


4. Sometimes the compound noun can be used as well.

The London nightlife is amazing (As a specific type of nightlife)

London's nightlife is amazing (Belonging to London)

The nightlife in London is amazing (Located in London)

The nightlife of London


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