Welcome to your GrammarBook.com e-newsletter.
Whenever someone asks for a good book on grammar, I recommend The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation.
The GrammarBook.com website is a gold mine that has helped me enormously. Best of all it is enjoyable.
e-newsletter is a great help to many English learners. It has a simple, clear way of explaining matters we used to consider difficult.
Today let’s look into a seldom-discussed subject that’s quite a mouthful: compound possessives with nouns and pronouns.
Have a look at this sentence: Cesar’s and Maribel’s houses are both lovely. Note the ’s at
the end of each name. This tells us that Cesar and Maribel each own their own house.
But when two people share ownership, the ’s goes after the second name only. The sentence Cesar and Maribel’s houses are both lovely refers to houses co-owned by Cesar and Maribel.
However, if one—or both—of the joint owners is written as a pronoun, the possessive form is required for both: his and Maribel’s house, Cesar’s and my house, her and my house, your and their house.
As the above examples demonstrate, compound possessives with pronouns require possessive adjectives (my, your, her, our, their). Avoid possessive pronouns (mine, yours, hers, ours, theirs) in such constructions.
It should be mentioned that compound possessives are often clunky as well as confusing. For instance, a picture of her and Cesar’s house could refer to a photo of “her” in front of the house that Cesar owns or a photo of the house that she and Cesar co-own. Big difference. Such ambiguous sentences should probably just be rewritten.
* * * * *
Last week we received this interesting note from a correspondent in Cambridge, Massachusetts:
“The M.C. and I” is the title of a New York Times Book Review piece on Joel Grey’s new memoir. When I saw it I thought, Is that
grammatically correct? I don’t even know how to think about figuring that out. Most titles aren’t sentences. I doubt
The King and I would have gotten by all these years if it weren’t correct.
We’ve found that for every title like “The M.C. and I,” The King and I, and You and I (an album by singer-songwriter
Jeff Buckley) there are several like You, Me, and the Apocalypse (TV series), Me Talk Pretty One Day (book), Me and the Colonel (movie), “Me and Bobby McGee” (popular song), and on and on.
Here’s our theory: the subject pronoun I in a title like The King and I sends a subliminal message that what you are about to
experience is high-minded and edifying. The King and I is a beloved Broadway musical about a prim Englishwoman who served in the court of the king
of Siam in the 1860s. Consider the exotic subject matter and the sophisticated target audience and you can understand why The King and Me was not
Jeff Buckley, who died at the age of thirty, was an intense artist whose brief life was haunted by tragedy. You and I was released years after his
death. Under these dark circumstances, those entrusted with his legacy must have felt that You and Me lacked the appropriate gravitas.
Now look at those other examples. The titles are meant to disarm us with humor or folksiness. They encourage a bond of easy intimacy between author and
audience. There’s something comfortable about Me in a title and something more reserved and aloof about I.
Because of the e-newsletter’s large readership, please submit your English usage questions through GrammarBook.com’s “Grammar Blog.”
Choose the best sentences. Our answers are at the end of the newsletter.
A) Randy returned to he and his wife’s farm in Kansas.
B) Randy returned to his and his wife’s farm in Kansas.
C) Randy returned to him and his wife’s farm in Kansas.
D) Randy returned to himself and his wife’s farm in Kansas.
A) Chris and my screenplay is almost finished.
B) Me and Chris’s screenplay is almost finished.
C) Chris’s and my screenplay is almost finished
D) Myself and Chris’s screenplay is almost finished.
A) They and their children’s house was getting a new porch.
B) Their and their children’s house was getting a new porch.
C) Them and their children’s house was getting a new porch.
D) Them and their children were getting a new porch for their house.
E) They and their children were getting a new porch for their house.
A) Your and her dog is on my lawn.
B) Yours and her dog is on my lawn.
C) Hers and your dog is on my lawn.
D) Rewrite the sentence.
Free BONUS Quiz for You!
[[firstname]], because you are a subscriber to the newsletter, you get access to one of the Subscription Members-Only Quizzes. Click here to take an Irregular Verbs Quiz and get your scores and explanations instantly!
Follow @GrammarBook on Twitter
GrammarBook.com is on Twitter! Follow @GrammarBook for weekly grammar tips, news, and information!
More Good News for Quiz Subscribers
We are pleased to announce that we have added even more quizzes to help you challenge yourself, your students, and your staff. We added quizzes to existing categories and created some new categories such as “Confusing Verbs,” “Subjunctive Mood,” “Comprise,” “Sit vs. Set vs. Sat,” and “Spelling.”
We reviewed and strengthened every quiz on our website to ensure consistency with the rules and guidelines contained in our eleventh edition of The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation.
If you think you have found an error in a quiz, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“So convenient … hundreds of quizzes in one click.”
[[firstname]], Subscribe to receive hundreds of English usage quizzes not found anywhere else!
- Take the quizzes online or download and copy them.
- Get scored instantly.
- Find explanations for every quiz answer.
- Reproduce the quizzes to your heart’s content.
- EASY to use.
- No software to download.
- No setup time.
- A real person to help you if you have any questions!
Instructors and Employers: we make your life easier!
- Assign quizzes to your students or employees.
- Students log in from anywhere.
- Scores are tallied and compiled for you.
- You decide whether to let students see their own scores and quiz explanations.
- Let GrammarBook.com take the hassle out of teaching English!
“Fun to test my skills!”
“The explanations really help … thanks!”
Your choice: Subscribe at the $29.95 or $99.95 level ($30 off - previously $129.95).
“I download the quizzes for my students who don’t have computer access.”
Subscribe today to receive hundreds of English usage quizzes not found anywhere else!
“Makes learning English FUN!”
Don’t need all the quizzes at once?
You can now purchase the same quizzes individually for ONLY 99¢ each. Purchase yours here.
Get Yours Today!
Get Amazon’s No. 1 Best-seller in Four Categories!
No. 1 in Grammar
No. 1 in Reading
No. 1 in Lesson Planning
No. 1 in Vocabulary
The Blue Book of Grammar
by Jane Straus, Lester Kaufman, and Tom Stern
The Authority on English Grammar!
Eleventh Edition Now Available
Have You Ordered Your Copy Yet?
An indispensable tool for busy professionals, teachers, students, homeschool families, editors, writers, and proofreaders.
Available in print AND as an e-Book! Over 2,000 copies are purchased every month!
Order Your Copy Today!
- Hundreds of Grammar, Punctuation, Capitalization, and Usage Rules
- Real-World Examples
- Spelling / Vocabulary / Confusing Words
- Quizzes with Answers
If you live in the United States or Canada, order The Blue Book through Wiley.com and get 30 percent off and FREE shipping! Simply go to bit.ly/1996hkA and use discount code E9X4AYY.*
For those of you who live outside the U.S. and Canada, although the publisher is not able to offer free shipping, you will get 35 percent off to help offset your shipping costs. Simply go to bit.ly/1996hkA and use discount code E9X4A.*
*Offer expires December 31, 2016.
This is a text message exchange between two people:
Pop Quiz Answers
3. E (B is correct, but awkward)
4. D (A is correct, but awkward)
Learn all about who and whom, affect and effect, subjects and verbs, adjectives and adverbs, commas, semicolons, quotation marks, and much more by just sitting back and enjoying these easy-to-follow lessons. Tell your colleagues (and boss), children, teachers, and friends. Click here to watch.