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the right right of way
Old 05-12-2019, 02:39 PM   #1
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the right right of way

Do we have any English Majors here?

I'm writing something about a right of way. I know the plural form is "rights of way", but what is the correct possessive form? For example

1) ... in the documention of this right of way's origin.
2) ... in the documention of this right's of way origin.

What about plural possesive?

1) ... in the documention of these right of ways' origin.
2) ... in the documention of these rights' of way origin.
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Old 05-12-2019, 03:07 PM   #2
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You could use hyphens to make the phrase a compound noun:

In the documentation of this right-of-way's origin


In the documentation of these right-of-ways' origins

(The second is awkward, however, and could slow the reader down. I'd use an alternative like "in the documentation of the origins of these right-of-ways")
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Old 05-12-2019, 03:16 PM   #3
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Just rephrase it:

In documenting the origin of this right of way ...

In documenting the origins of these rights of way ...
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Old 05-12-2019, 03:22 PM   #4
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Interesting idea, thanks. Grammerist says, "Right-of-way, referring to the right for one person or vehicle to pass before another, is usually hyphenated in North American writing, but leaving it unhyphenated is not a serious mistake. Outside North America, it tends to go unhyphenated."

I had not known that. Unfortunately Grammerist does not discuss the plural form. Maybe even with hyphens it's rights-of-way, which complicates the possesive form. I could avoid the issue with "of the origin of the right of way" but I've never liked multiple ofs, and I'm now curious about the proper plural possessive form.
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Old 05-12-2019, 05:15 PM   #5
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I'm not an English major but I would repharase to "... in the documentation of the origin of these rights-of-way...".
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Old 05-12-2019, 05:48 PM   #6
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I am not an English major, but I probably stayed at a Holiday Inn once.

I don't hyphenate the phrase.

If the plural form is rights of way - I'll take your word for it - then the plural possessive would logically be "rights' of way".

I live in North America but have British ancestry on my Mother's side.

ETA: Merriam-Webster has it hyphenated and plural either way:
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Old 05-12-2019, 05:50 PM   #7
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Sorry, I only speak and write in Texan but I can read and understand all of your English examples.
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