For my thesis, in my acknowledgements, I have the following line:

I would like to thank my fiancé, ----, who has endlessly supported me and my work.

My supervisor highlighted me and my work and commented “Check grammar :)”. I have been trying to figure out what is incorrect here, but am stuck.

What would the correct grammar for this sentence be?

  • 4
    There is no problem. You could reverse the order, my work and me, but that is style, not grammar. Both are the object of supported. – bib Jun 3 '14 at 15:29
  • The one thing I can think of is that your supervisor expects an Oxford comma between me and and - But that would mean he reads that you want to thank your fiancé and you work - not that your fiancé supported you and supported your work. – oerkelens Jun 3 '14 at 15:33
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    You have left out the name of your significant other, so I don’t know if this applies or not; but if you are engaged to a woman, she is your fiancée, not your fiancé. If you are engaged to a man, ignore this comment. :-) – Janus Bahs Jacquet Jun 3 '14 at 15:37
  • Thanks for that Janus, I did not realize, many people that don't know me may now think I am engaged to a man, fiancée it is. – JimmyBanks Jun 3 '14 at 15:41
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    I wouldn't be at all surprised if your supervisor wants you to hypercorrect it to my work and I. (Which would be horribly, awfully wrong.) – Hellion Jun 3 '14 at 15:51

I think this is probably a question of style, not grammar. The grammar is perfectly fine. In my experience it's not worth trying to persuade supervisors that your grammar judgement is right and theirs is suspect, though. Probably not wise just before a thesis submission either!

It may well be that your supervisor feels that someone else will object to this style and so is anxious on your behalf. I think they probably feel that a co-ordination of a thing and a (human) personal pronoun is a little informal ( - I don't agree). However, you may want to put something like supported me in my work, which is the kind of phrase you see a lot in acknowledgements and so forth.

Good luck with the viva!

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  • 5
    +1 specifically for flagging up that supported me in my work is a far more common usage in OP's context. – FumbleFingers Jun 3 '14 at 17:02
  • I've also noticed that some grammar guides advocate against joining human and non-human items in a list, but I find following this advice to be of little practical use. I cannot see how one would be confused by a phrase like "me and my work"; it's perfectly understandable. In cases such as this, recasting the sentence is unlikely to make any significant improvement in communication. – user77991 Jun 3 '14 at 17:47
  • I'd say that co-ordination of a thing and a person (or rather the words referencing them) is not always standard. 'Bunter scowled at his English teacher, Mr Jones, who corrected both Bunter and his essay.' 'Correct' here has slightly different senses with the different objects, giving a hint of zeugma. The difference in sense is less palpable in OP's example, but is, I'd say, still faintly discernable. – Edwin Ashworth Jun 3 '14 at 22:37

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