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Friends of friends of
How to say 2nd degree friends
2014/01/02
1:15am
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Robert
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If you want to write “my friends’ friends,” which is best?

(1) My friends’ friends

(2) Friends of my friends

(3) Friends of my friends’

(4) Friends of mine’s

(5) Friends of friends of mine

 

(1) clumsy, hence the alternatives.

(2) probably most favored, though liable to be confused as the expansive form of ‘friends of mine.’

(3) not wrong, but a little strange looking.

(4) not wrong, another form of (3), but too strange looking.

(5) Too long.

 

2014/01/02
1:32am
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Ron Draney
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Indirect friends? Transitive friends? Friends once removed?

2014/01/02
8:59am
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Bob Bridges
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A nitpick: I don’t think #1 is clumsy, but there’s one way in which it differs in meaning from the rest:   “My friends” means not “some friends of me” but “the friends of me”.   So technically “my friends’ friends” means “the friends of my friends”.   #1 really has to be “some of my friends’ friends”, to be picky about it, and then it does begin to sound clumsy.

(Kudos, by the way, on ruling that #3 is not actually wrong.)

2014/01/02
9:44am
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Dick
Fort Worth, TX
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I don’t think a different term is needed here. I like the old saying, “a stranger is just a friend you haven’t met yet.” I would call friends of my friends “friends.”   Of course this comment is about philosophy, not language.

2014/01/02
1:20pm
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Glenn
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I like 1) or 2) in this case. I am personally confounded with coming up with a rule as to when to use the subjective or the possessive in example 3), but I affirm that in most cases you can use either. I would not understand example 4) to mean “friends of my friends” if I saw it. In fact, it looks to me like a typo of “friends of mine.” I don’t think you can add a possessive ending to “mine” forming “mine’s” — unless of course you mean “mine” as a source of raw ore. Example 5) seems awkward, but could have a useful nuance of affirming that you know these second-degree friends.

Back on the topic of example 3) refer to the previous thread in which my confusion is quite manifest:
1) Admit we were possessive and that our language has become unmanageable

Some day I will have to do some legitimate research on this topic.

2014/01/04
7:15pm
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deaconB
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They’ve used FOAF and FOAFOF on alt.folklore.urban for 20 years, possibly 25 years.