What’s missing in this teaser on the Yahoo! front page?
Can’t figure it out? Here’s a hint: Substitute a pronoun for “Alex Rodriguez.”
A former teammate of he? Nah, that doesn’t sound right.
A former teammate of him? Nope, that ain’t right either.
A former teammate of his? Bingo!
The correct expression is “a former teammate of Alex Rodriguez’s.” It’s called a double possessive and according to the Associated Press style guide, two conditions must apply for a double possessive:
- The word after of must refer to an animate object (in this case, Alex Rodriguez) and
- The word before of must involve only a portion of the animate object’s possessions. (Since Mr. Rodriguez has more than one teammate, this criterion is met, too).