Monday, October 08, 2012

Grammar lesson 3

What should you say when two different people possess the same thing? It's called compound, or joint, possession. An example would be: "Scott and Rebecca's kids are coming to see us." As long as the two people possess the same thing (in this case, three of my grandchildren), the rule is that you make only the second noun possessive. You wouldn't say "Scott's and Rebecca's kids" unless Scott's kids are different from Rebecca's.

But it's more perplexing when a personal pronoun enters the picture. Suppose you want to tell a friend about your new car, but your wife is standing right there and you don't want to sound like it's only YOUR car. I've heard people say things like...
"Want to take a ride in my wife and my's car?"
Worse yet, I've heard people say things like...
"Want to take a ride in my wife and I's car?"
What's the rule in this case? You certainly couldn't follow the normal rule for compound possession, because it would force you to say, "Want to take a ride in my wife and my car?"! When one of the possessors in a compound possessive is a personal pronoun, you have to put both possessors in the possessive form. So you would say,
"Want to take a ride in my wife's and my car?"

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