Which is correct, and why?

identifying you and your competitors’ relative market performance


identifying your and your competitors’ relative market performance

Each entity is in possession of “relative market performance”, so I think grammar dictates both be your, but it sounds godawful.

  • 1
    Godawful is in the eye of the beholder, but either way I'll take godawful over plain ungrammatical anytime. I mean, you could go ahead and replace the first your with a vush, which is Russian for "your", and you would avoid repetition, but you'd also avoid making any sense. Same goes for replacing your with any other word. English is just crazy like that — when you mean your, you have to say your.
    – RegDwigнt
    Jan 18, 2013 at 19:56
  • possible duplicate of "Your and my [something]" vs "Yours and my..." Jan 18, 2013 at 22:22

5 Answers 5


It has to be your and your. If you don’t like it, you can say something like ‘...identifying your competitors' relative market performance as well as your own.’

  • 1
    Howsabout "...identifying the relative market performance of you and your competitors...
    – Pete
    Jan 18, 2013 at 20:07
  • @Pete. That might do. There is an ellipted of before 'your competitors'. Jan 18, 2013 at 20:08
  • Would the inclusion of the ellipted of signify the exclusive possession of relative market performance for each entity ("you" and "your")? Could its omission signify the market performance is relative between the entities, i.e., a comparison? Comparison is definitely involved in the source.
    – Pete
    Jan 18, 2013 at 20:21
  • @Pete. Then say ‘...identifying your competitors' relative market performance compared with your own.’ Much, as always, depends on context, and on the knowledge which the writer shares with the reader. Jan 18, 2013 at 20:30
  • 1
    I'd consider just adding apostrophes to make it "...your, and your competitors', relative...". The sense comes to the same, but the pause breaks up the repetition.
    – Jon Hanna
    Jan 18, 2013 at 20:54

I think that the phrase

your and your competitors’ relative market performance

is a pretty odd fish in the first place—because performance comes out singular here even though the actual subject being discussed is at least two instances of performance (yours and your competitors', the latter of which may be tracked as a set of grouped and averaged numbers or as multiple sets of individual numbers, one for each competitor) considered relative to each other.

In the more normal case, the noun at the end of the phrase would be plural, as in

your and your girlfriend's fathers

and most people (I suspect) would feel absolutely no temptation to express that relationship as

you and your girlfriend's fathers


your and your girlfriend's father


you and your girlfriend's father

So the real culprit here is "relative performance," which invites us to understand it as referring to one performance that both you and your competitors share, rather than as referring to two (or more) sets of performance data matched against one another. The expression is idiomatically legitimate—indeed, completely normal—but that doesn't make it any less of an impediment to recognizing the real-world comparison that underlies the expression in this instance.

Even in that case, however, any inclination to choose against the replicated possessive in "your and your competitors'" recedes if we recast the conversation as being about matching our performance and our competitors' performance. Would anyone argue in favor of

identifying us and our competitors’ relative market performance

as against

identifying our and our competitors’ relative market performance

? I wouldn't. That the wording is "your and your competitors'" instead of "our and our competitors'" is of no syntactical importance to whether the first word should take the form of a possessive.

I can't think of any plausible argument for adopting the wording "you and your competitor's market performance" or "us and our competitor's market performance" in preference to "your and your competitor's market performance" or "our and our competitor's market performance."


Most of the difficulty here is that the choice isn’t between ‘your and your… ’… it’s between ‘your and your competitors’…

Beyond that, try treating it like the hoary-old ‘I or me…’ and simplify it by dropping one of the parties.

Does ‘… your (relative) market performance’ by itself seem correct?

Does ‘… your competitors’ (relative) market performance’ by itself seem correct?

If they really seem too ugly when you put them back together, slip in a comma to change the impact…

‘… your, and your competitors’…’


In almost all such cases, rephrasing would both sound better and make more sense. "You and your competitors' relative market performance...." vs "your relative market performance and that of your competitors."


I'm not sure about the above answers: one of the unique facets of the English lanugage is that there is no accepted codable manual of English grammar like there is for say French or Spanish. This allows the acceptability of certain grammatical trends to change over time, such as "who vs whom" and "he/she" vs "they" for the ungendered third person. I believe this question is one of those cases: it is MUCH more natural to say "You and your competitor's _____" and even sounds natural, to be honest. Saying "me and his dog" does not sound natural, on the contrary, so I would not say it is acceptable. It also follow that "you and your" as such flow so naturally that the "r" that should technically be at the end of the first you is simply dropped and implied. It sounds terribly awkward to say "your and your" IMO, even if it is technically correct.

  • Please consider adding some references and line breaks to you your answer.
    – Helmar
    Jan 11, 2017 at 7:44

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.