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We get a lot of questions about coordinating pronouns with nouns for joint possession, along the lines of "my wife's and my dinner," most recently: "you," "your" or "yours" in this sentence? Many of these are closed as duplicates of the following question, which superficially seems to be about this issue: "My wife and I's seafood collaboration dinner".

However, in fact this question is more specific and not suited to being a canonical answer to the general question. One of its answers addresses the general issue, and received the following comment (bolding added by me):

This answer misses the point. The handy rule you've been taught — we've all been taught that handy rule. We all know that "my wife's and my" is Standard English; we all know that a stanalone "I's" is not; but this question is about neither. It's about a peculiar construction produced by a native speaker (who himself is well aware that it's non-standard) and an attempt by another native speaker at an explanation of why it was possible for it to be produced in the first place. This question is all about putting that explanation to test, and the top and accepted answer adequately does just that.

I agree with this evaluation of the question (I disagree with the idea that "we all know that 'my wife's and my' is Standard English," taken literally, since to many people this doesn't seem to be obvious). Because of this, I feel that the top answer here is not really a very good fit to all the other questions closed as duplicates of this one (there are 2 pages worth of questions linked to this one). A lot of this answer is devoted to explaining why the non-standard form makes sense; in contrast, many of the linked questions are about what the standard form is.

It seems to me that a much more straightforward canonical question is the following: What possessive forms are used for mutual 1st person ownership?

Perhaps it could be edited to remove the reference to 1st person in particular, since the issue is the same (as far as I know) for pronouns in other persons as well.

To clarify, I'm envisioning something similar to what Mari-Lou A proposed for this set of questions. Please respond to tell me what you think, and if I've presented my thoughts clearly.


Another important issue is the matter of identifying the most suitable answers to this general question; currently there are many answers spread out across the multitude of questions.

Possible canonical answers I've been looking at:

  • I was just thinking about this very thing. You've presented a good case for it, too. – tchrist Sep 3 '15 at 3:09
  • I think the community should also stabilize what is the criteria for a "canonical" answer in a canonical question. If it is determined by the number of upvotes an answer receives, that should be made crystal clear. And, consequently, do you believe any of the answers in the three possible duplicates are satisfactory or should they be supplemented? – Mari-Lou A Sep 3 '15 at 9:59
  • @Mari-LouA: I guess I think that the existing answers should to be supplemented with some citation to a comprehensive and authoritative reference. I think Cerberus's answer is not comprehensive enough, and the citation to the Chicago Manual of Style is indirect. Gpr's answer seems quite comprehensive, but seems at its core just a quotation from Wikipedia: I'd feel better if there were citations or quotations from other sources (perhaps even the ones for the Wikipedia article!). – sumelic Sep 5 '15 at 9:20
  • Then maybe you should set up a bounty? Or maybe a mod could intervene and set one up ( I know it's tough to lose 150-500 points when it's not your question). BTW I have posted a question on meta, I would appreciate to hear your thoughts on the matter. – Mari-Lou A Sep 5 '15 at 9:37

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