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Where did this come from? It sounds nasty to me (I am not a native speaker). But it seems correct. Can somebody explain this?

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It comes from Al Bundy. He's Married... with Children. –  Mehper C. Palavuzlar Nov 29 '10 at 11:50
    
...which in turn got it from the IRS. See my answer below. –  T.E.D. Aug 23 '11 at 21:23

6 Answers 6

up vote 41 down vote accepted

If you're talking about you and your spouse, it's not possible to be "married with" anyone; you can only be "married to" someone.

Hence there is no ambiguity in saying "married with three kids", as the "with" cannot be associated with "married".

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+1 for highlighting "married to" –  b.roth Nov 29 '10 at 11:25
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Prepositions are always the trickiest part when learning a language (that has them). Master them and the rest is smooth sailing. In German, one is actually married with someone; "married to" would be ungrammatical. In Russian, I am married on my wife, while she is married behind me. Go figure. (The list goes on, but you get the idea.) –  RegDwigнt Nov 29 '10 at 21:31
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@RegDwight: Little details like that are what make languages so fascinating to me - though also hard work. And don't get me started on grammatical gender... :-) –  Steve Melnikoff Nov 29 '10 at 21:53
    
@RegDwigнt, I guess the implication, then, is that Russian men lie on their backs on top of their wives? –  Janus Bahs Jacquet Jan 7 at 15:58

Great! As a non-native English speaker from another place of the world, sometimes you just don't figure out some of the rules for translation-that should obey the side of the foreigner language and not your own. This case is a good example.

In Spanish you say: "Estoy casado con Tania".
The wrong translation is: "I'm married with Tania".
The OK translation is: "I'm married to Tania".

In the question there's obviously a mistake which has its origin in a wrong translation. Clearly, the punctuation helps to give a satisfying connotation, but the problem isn't there.

"I'm married to three children" is what "Estoy casado con 3 niños" means in Spanish and is totally wrong, mainly because the word con means with most of the time. In this case, the translation should become not word by word but understanding the meaning of the phrase. Much of the time the Spanish speaking people fall into this kind of mistakes out of the logic that Spanish language has implicitly, but to learn English as well as other idioms, you most open your mind to break those language barriers.
"I'm married with three children" is "Estoy casado con 3 niños", nothing wrong, but "I'm married to three children" is the nasty meaning you were seeing.

In case of a translation, the fix for it would be to add the comma. Simple.

Anyway, this has to do with a wrong conception of the verbal form and how it is used.
My two cents, I'm new here and love idioms. I'm always learning something new and this is an excellent place for doing that.

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It means the speaker is married, and has three children (generally living with them as dependents).

Perhaps it isn't the best grammar. It certainly isn't the clearest way of putting it. However, it references the IRS (USA tax) code, in particular someone who is filing a joint return with a spouse and has other minor dependents. Several examples of this construction can be seen here. As such, any person who fills out a USA tax form is liable to know immediately what it means.

This terminology also was used in the name of a hit TV series.

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I am married with three kids.

can safely be resolved to

I am married, with three kids.

at which point the context & the meaning become completely clear. I don't think the sentence sounds nasty, as nobody would ever want to imply what you are referring to.

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A comma, rather than a semi-colon, would be better, as "with three kids" is not a separate clause. –  Steve Melnikoff Nov 29 '10 at 11:22

Did you hear it or read it?

If you heard it, you may not have correctly heard the comma, which de-nastys to:

I am married, with three kids

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I read it,a quick google search shows it,too. –  Srinivas Reddy Thatiparthy Nov 29 '10 at 11:06
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The comma is redundant. A native English speaker understands it without, and would not say it out loud with the pause that's implied by the comma. Some writers and editors would insert a comma; others would not. It's a matter of personal style, not correctness. –  slim Dec 13 '11 at 16:25

Without seeing/hearing it in context, this statement appears to be a completely neutral statement of fact - no implications, nasty or otherwise.

It's possible that we're missing some important detail. You may need to provide more information about the context in which this phrase was used if we are to spot any hidden malice.

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protected by RegDwigнt Aug 23 '11 at 22:04

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