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Question
Dear Ted:

Here is one of your Facebook posts:

In the library's children's department . . . a tiny, three-year-old girl [imp] wanted to whisper something to me. She said she knew my name. I asked her what my name was and she whispered, "Mr. Wrinkle Face."

My questions are these:

1) Can inanimate objects have possession?

2) From a grammatical point of view, what do you call "library's children's department"?

3) If so, would you please give me some other examples?

Many, many thanks for your kind help.

Paolo

Answer
Dear Paolo:

Even though I try to be grammatically correct when posting to Facebook, sometimes I take "short cuts."

****

Here is one of your Facebook posts:

In the library's children's department . . . a tiny, three-year-old girl [imp] wanted to whisper something to me. She said she knew my name. I asked her what my name was and she whispered, "Mr. Wrinkle Face."

My questions are these:

1) Can inanimate objects have possession?

*** It is not a good practice, but, in casual or common usage, it is acceptable.

2) From a grammatical point of view, what do you call "library's children's department"?

*** "In the library's children's department" is a prepositional phrase.  "Department" is the object of the preposition "in."  The other two words are possessive adjectives describing "department."

3) If so, would you please give me some other examples?

On the building's roof, the owners fashioned a beautiful garden.

I will meet you at the theater's front door.

The capitol's dome is under repair.  The dome is completely encased with scaffolding.

Ted

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Ted Nesbitt

Expertise

I am the bibliographic instruction and reference librarian at a public college. Some members of the English department recommend me to their students. I offer assistance in grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, and paragraph development. My master`s thesis concerns William Faulkner`s tragic novels. I formerly taught advanced placement English at two schools in the Philadelphia area.

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I have been one of the highest-ranked volunteers in this category for more than a decade.

Education/Credentials
B. A. and M. A in English; MSIS in Library & Information Sciences; graduate study in philosophy

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