Which would be the correct usage of the possessive case in this sentence?

Of the following, which is standard?

"…all to us onlookers' grave disconcertion."
"…all to we onlookers' grave disconcertion."

It seems to fall into something of a grey area, since the possessive "onlookers'" is an appositive to "we/us." I know that when a possessive has an appositive, the appositive actually takes the possessive form, but I don't know what case the other word should take. The first sounds better to me, but I'd love to hear what you think. Thank you so much!


  • DavidCrosbieDavidCrosbie ✭✭✭


    • The possessive of we is our.
    • The written possessive of onlookers is onlookers'. (In speech they are identical.)
    • The possessive of we onlookers is of us onlookers.

    The noun you want is consternation.

    There are restrictions on when we use the possessive form of nouns rather than a phrase with of.

    • We use the possessive much more when the noun refers to a human, and much less when the noun refers to a thing.
    • We seldom if ever use a possessive for more than one word.

    So the only way I can think of to express what you mean is

    all to the consternation of us onlookers

  • Thank you for your help!

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