Suppose I want to refer to the widget owned by me and Susan.

Then do I say "you are welcome to use Susan's and my widget"? (Sounds awkward.)

Or "you are welcome to use the widget owned by Susan and I"? (Too long, clunky.)

How do I say this correctly? I would prefer not to rearrange the phrase altogether to avoid the problem. How do I correctly format the possessive with the multiple parties?

  • 1
    I read recently that the convention is to make only the last noun/pronoun possessive (I think it was in the NYT style guide). So it would be Susan and my widget. You will doubtless get another opinion. – anongoodnurse Mar 5 '14 at 6:19
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    @Susan In certain cases, such as the one in question, this construction is perilous -- please read the whole sentence again and see for yourself. – Kris Mar 5 '14 at 7:31
  • If Susan is correct, could I then say without peril "Please use Susan and my gadget for your personal pleasure" ?? – Blessed Geek Mar 5 '14 at 7:35
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    "... Susan's and my widget" I have been using this structure for ages, and I've never felt awkward about it. – Blessed Geek Mar 5 '14 at 7:41
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    Our widget. Why list all the owners all the time? – Oldcat Mar 5 '14 at 22:32

Just technically thinking, the possible option to avoid pitfalls could be:

You are welcome to use me-and-Susan's widget

  • Okay, protocol gone, fpp before others, but it works.

  • Hyphenate to disambiguate: the widget is joint property.

  • Now that there's just a compound noun, just one possessive should do.

There can be other, better ways to do it.

  • 2
    klugy, kludgy, ke-loo-gie – Blessed Geek Mar 5 '14 at 7:42
  • +1 - I upvoted your answer as perfectly reasonable. Blessed Geek's comment is, however, hilarious. – anongoodnurse Mar 5 '14 at 10:20
  • Me's widget is acceptable? – Oldcat Mar 5 '14 at 22:32
  • @Oldcat I'm not sure about 'acceptability', but that just doesn't exist: mine, not me's, (even in "x and me"?). – Kris Mar 6 '14 at 4:13
  • @Susan klugy, yes, I said as much: "but it works". Now, what's the joke, please? – Kris Mar 6 '14 at 4:14

protected by tchrist Aug 7 '14 at 3:24

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