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Grammar help? Discrepancy between MCT and Fix-It

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Forgive me, as I have a STEM background and really have no clue when it comes to grammar.  We seem to have run into a disagreement over parts of speech labeling between MCT Grammar Town and Fix-It Grammar 1, and I don't know what's right or if they're both right or if I'm looking at it wrong or what.

 

1) It was his.

2) It was his cake.

 

By the explanation from MCT, in sentence #1 "his" is a possessive pronoun because it stands alone in place of a noun, but in sentence #2 "his" is a possessive adjective because it's used to modify a noun.  

 

In Fix-It, we had the same set up as in #2 above, but the TM calls "his" a pronoun.

 

To further confuse me, we read Grammar-Land a while back and I remember them calling "his" pronoun in sentences like #1 and an adjective-pronoun in those like #2.

 

So... in sentence #2, is "his" a possessive adjective, a possessive pronoun, plain 'ol pronoun, or adjective-pronoun?

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You can look at it as categories/labels and jobs/functions in a sentence.

 

"His" is a pronoun that stands for or substitutes for a noun identifying someone or something male. A subset of all pronouns are possessive pronouns, of which "his" is just one. Those are all categories or labels.

 

In #2, "his" is indeed a pronoun. It's job can be described different ways because it goes with or modifies "cake." You can call it an adjective, a possessive adjective, a pronoun adjective, or a possessive pronoun adjective. I may be missing one in there. Unfortunately each book may use a different term.

 

The MCT terminology is more descriptive IMHO. IEW is not a fan of analytical grammar, so I'm not surprised that they just call it an adjective.

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And to confuse more, I've seen programs call both possessive pronouns. 

 

I've seen this too, and it drives me totally crazy.  Right up there with omitting-the-Oxford-comma crazy  :D.

Edited by EKS
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I agree with G5052. Past a certain point, if you understand the *function*, the terminology becomes academic. It clearly has pronominal, adjectival and possessive functions. If you can identify all that you don't really have to choose what to call it, in fact confining it to one term could be misleading.

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Actually, it's a good way to teach a child that it's not all written in stone and that there is more than one theory. However, I believe that one has to be consistent, i.e. choose a theory that makes the most sense and stick to it.

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How about Possessive Pronoun Adjective?   :D

 

That's how I ended up having my kids label them (in MCT).  It's kind of both.

 

One thing I've never seen any grammar program wrestle with is that if a possessive pronoun in front of a noun is an adjective because it's modifying a noun, then isn't a possessive noun (the thing the possessive pronoun is replacing) equally an adjective?  Bob's cake / his cake.  Both modify the noun in the exact same way.  "his" is in the place of the noun "Bob's".  

 

So... possessive pronoun adjective. :D

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That's how I ended up having my kids label them (in MCT).  It's kind of both.

 

One thing I've never seen any grammar program wrestle with is that if a possessive pronoun in front of a noun is an adjective because it's modifying a noun, then isn't a possessive noun (the thing the possessive pronoun is replacing) equally an adjective?  Bob's cake / his cake.  Both modify the noun in the exact same way.  "his" is in the place of the noun "Bob's".  

 

So... possessive pronoun adjective. :D

 

In FLL 3 possessive nouns are adjectives.

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