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Genitive case. Particularly, genitive possessive. Elem Heb. I in college....day 2 of class! בית becomes בת as in בת כסא "house of the chair". LOL A euphemism for the toilet. Also works for more straightforward relationships of possession: בת ספרים библютека House of books, lit., Library, I would presume. Let me know if that isn't the case. I mean, if that is "bookstore" or something else.
I don't have this very well understood myself, but I know that we forgo shel because the nouns are put into a construct state. It basically means "soup (of) tomatoes". What I'd like to know is if the noun 'tomato' was put into plural because of the phrasing I just posted, or if it changed to conform to the rules of smikhut (construct state).
Potato soup = מרק תפוחי אדמה
Excessively picky? That's how you say it in Hebrew. If it's singular in English, it doesn't mean that it has to be singular in Hebrew, too. Just like מיץ תפוזים or מיץ תפוחים - orange juice and apple juice - which are also singular in English, but plural in Hebrew.