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I'm pretty sure that "Every X of mine" is correct, but reading and speaking out "My every X" makes me feel uncertain about it... is it also correct?

If it's not used in formal language or common speaking, can it be allowed anyway as poetic license in writing a song lyric?

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  • 1
    Anything goes (almost) in poetry/lyrics. So that's not really an allowance. Both are fine, and, yes, 'my every' is towards the poetic, but is perfectly OK.
    – Mitch
    Feb 12, 2013 at 20:48
  • Then being part of a song lyric the poetic way is good... :)
    – Frhay
    Feb 13, 2013 at 0:25

3 Answers 3

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Personally, I feel that my every X is a more stylised/poetic construction. Perhaps because of that, it feels slightly "dated" to me as a spoken usage.

Apart from that I think it's semantically equivalent to every X of mine. But all my X's seems a more "natural" phrasing to me, and arguably there's a slight shift in emphasis...

Every X of mine places more emphasis on all my X's, considered collectively.
My every X emphasises each one of my X's, considered individually.

Thus, for example, in...

1: John defeated every argument of mine.
2: John defeated my every argument.

...it could be argued that #1 is more appropriate where John has defeated all my arguments using a single line of attack/reasoning, whereas #2 is better where John forensically addressed and defeated each of my arguments using a different counter-argument.

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  • If by "dated" you mean "dated when talking to someone" it's ok, being it part of a song lyric we can afford to use dated statements... :)
    – Frhay
    Feb 13, 2013 at 0:27
  • @Frhay: Song lyrics are stylised/poetic contexts, as can be movies, books, etc. Realistically, if somebody asked me how I'd got on in the debate with John, I'd never say #2 (except maybe facetiously). But I might say #1 - although more likely I'd say "He demolished all my arguments". Feb 13, 2013 at 1:41
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disclaimer: I'm not a native speaker of English.

"My every" seems to be followed by limited experssions. I searched COCA Corpus. Among the total 255 hits of "my every", there are:

  • my every move(ment): 65
  • my every word: 20

Other examples include: my every nerve/breath/bone/muscle/vein/heartbeat; sense/intention/desire/expectation/thought... Seemingly "physical to yourself", in my poor expression.

It's not absolute but a tendency, yet seems to be a great majority.

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They are both correct and standard English. The first one uses the possessive form of my and seems to be less common in some cases than the the second one. Here are some examples:

She controlled my every move.

She controlled every move of mine.

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