"El elefante del niño."
Translation:The boy's elephant.
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This is so confusing.. grammar-moster says "It's is short for it is or it has. This is a 100% rule. It cannot be used for anything else. If you cannot expand it's to it is or it has, then it is wrong." Web uses whatever. Most of the cases are like "Bad boy's". Sometimes spelled like boys' too. I guess I just rephrase it in case I ever need to spell it outside of duolingo - too much for a non-native speaker to bear. Anyway, thank you for your reply.
It's is always a contraction of "it is" or "it has". When you are using the possessive of "it", you put "its" (no apostrophe).
Example: It's an elephant. (It is an elephant) The elephant used its trunk to drink water. (the elephant's trunk)
Does this help?
When it comes to "it's /its" I find it helpful to think that "it" does the opposite of the possessive apostrophe rule. Boy's = possessive (Boys' is plural possessive) Boys = just plural (there are 26 boys, 1 girl)
When it comes to "it's/its" think the opposite It's an elephant. It's really big. It's right over there. Look at it use its trunk. It's very good at using its trunk.
It isn't really opposite, I suppose, but that's just how I remember it.
@cabaretecub - re: bad boy's versus bad boys'
It just occurred to me that you might be referring to two different issues regarding apostrophe s.
In English writing we communicate possessiveness by adding on an "'s" (apostrophe s) onto the end of a word which we would like to make possessive.
But there are some cases where that doesn't always work. This is the case for words that already ends in the letter "s".
For example, if something belongs to Dave then we can express that by writing "'s" at the end of Dave. Let say we're writing about his hat. Then we get, "Dave's hat". No problem there.
What if we were writing about Thomas. Uh oh! Thomas ends in the letter "s". What do we do now?
Well, long ago it was decided that if a writers wants to make a word possessive, but that word already ends in the letter "s", then the writer only needs to put a terminal apostrophe (without the letter s) at the end of the word that already end on the letter "s".
So instead of writing the cluttered looking word "Thomas's", we write the much tidier looking "Thomas'".
So if we want to write about the hat that belongs to Thomas we get, "Thomas' hat".
BUT keep in mind we still have to pronounce the word as "Thomas's" when we speak it.
This next rule applies to English words that end in the letter "s" because they are the plural form of the word.
In the case of a group of "bad boys", if we wanted to write about let's say, the punishment that they would receive for misbehaving. We would write the following;
"the bad boys' punishment"
In the case of speaking the word "boys'" we say the word simply as "boys" because the terminal apostrophe does not have an "s". It is simply a mark in text to show possessiveness and the meaning of plural boys would emerge from the conversation or monolog.
Now, when it comes to the word "it", we have a new situation that is different from the ones that we have already examined. Even native English speakers can have trouble remembering how to spell the contraction for "it is" versus the the spelling of the possessive form of the word "it".
For native English speaker we like to take advantage of the contracted form of "it is" in writing when we can. We also tend towards the use of pronouns.
In the case of "it's" versus "its" the rules regarding the use of apostrophes can lead to confusion. How do we remember which word is correct when we are writing? How do we recall the correct spelling?
So, that was the topic of my previous reply to your post. Hopefully one of these replies addressed your concern.
By the way, I think it's awesome that you are learning a third laguage in a second language. You must be some kind of genius. Keep up the good work!
@cabaretecub - re: contraction of it is (it's).
I could never remember if, "it is" contracted to "it's" or "its". I knew that one word was the contraction form of "it" and "is" and the other word was the possessive form of "it". But how to tell them apart?
So I made up this little memory aid which has worked for me for decades.
The letter "i" has a little dot over it. When you smash the words "it" and "is" together to form the contraction, "it's" you can tell it's the contraction of "it" and "is" because the little dot from the letter "i" is still there between the letter "t" and the letter "s".
You know "It's" is the contraction because you can still see the dot from the letter, "i".
Therefore the word without the dot "its" must be the possessive form of it.
Hope that helps. :)
Logically, its and it's should both have apostrophes, but then they would be identical. Only the contraction (it is) gets an apostrophe.
Boy's = one boy posessing Boys' = multiple boys posessing
I wrote "The elephant of the boy" and it marked me right! Cheers to Duolingo!!!!! I guess it sorta makes since, the elephant of the boy, and the boy's elephant!!!
@schrockaustin - re: using "de" or "del".
Disclaimer: I am not an expert. I am just someone who hopes they can help. With that said, make sure you double check anything that I say. If you agree to that then read on amigo.
As I understand it, if "de" is not followed by one of the Spanish definite articles (el or la) than you just use "de". In Spanish, "una" is the indefinite feminine gender class article for a. So an example of using "de" with "una" would be something like;
color de una manzana (color of an apple)
Here's an example with no article at all;
pan de manzana (apple bread [which I've never had the pleasure of trying, but I'm supposing is simular to banana bread and therefore very good.])
Things get a little trickier when you want to express possessiveness in Spanish. You have different methods at your disposal, but let's focus on the use of "de".
Spanish does not employ "'s" (apostrophe s) to show possessiveness. In Spanish we can use "de" to achieve this function of expressing possessiveness. But we need to observe some rules about its use.
In Spanish, we can use the word order of the following phrase to express that some particular thing belongs to some other particular thing as a way of expressing possessiveness;
"the thing of the other thing"
In the case where "de" means "of" and it is followed by the masculine gender class definite article "el", you absolutely must contract the two words to form the word, "del". It's not optional. Spanish demands it.
Ex: la camisa del hombre (the shirt of the man or the man's shirt.)
In the case of "de" meaning "of" and being followed by the feminine gender class article "la", there is no contraction in Spanish. Again, it's just not an option. Spanish demands that you leave the two words unmolested.
Ex: el vestido de la mujer (the dress of the woman or the woman's dress.)
You may have noticed that I used items of clothing which are not in the same gender class as the noun doing the possessing. I did this intentionally to draw even more focus on the importance of the noun that determines whether you use "del" or "de la". In other words, the use of "de la" or "del" depends on the noun doing the possessing and nothing else.
Well, this is how I understand "de", "del" and "de la" at the moment. If I'm wrong hopefully someone will come along and straighten us both out. :)
I am still confused. Why is it del nino and de nina The girl's cat = El gato de la nina The boy's elephant = El elfante del nino
Because Del is de and el which is 'of the' for male you can say that but for female you can't say del because that's male. So for the girl's elephant you have to say de LA because there isn't anything that I have learned to put de and LA together
I wrote the elephant's boy i am confused at how you are supposed to know what comes first whentranslating to english. I have had this problem a few times now with this app where words written at the end of the sentence are actually at the front, please help this is very discouraging!
unfortunately it seems to be the only translation (as far as I've been taught). the trick is to translate it literally "the elephant of the boy" and then translate it from literal to a more conversational phrasing.
@beachbabe911 - re: what comes first
I have that problem too. When I'm trying to figure out what has what, I think of a phrase where I already understand the relationship regarding the issue of possessiveness like, "The President of the United States of America. Or The King of the Moon.
Then I can test how the phrase works by asking some questions like, Who's president? Oh yeah, The United States' President. Who's King? Oh yeah, the moon's.
Who's elefante? Oh yeah...
Hope that helps :)
learning the word "del" was interesting. I wonder why they made it MANDATORY to say that instead of "de el" and for an answer i said "the boy's elephant" woukd it have been okay if i said "the elephant of the boy"?