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I am helping to edit a scientific manuscript. The author in one sentence wants to talk about what his study and other studies have found. Here is part of his sentence: "Although our and other studies have previously reported a link between [...]." Is it grammatically correct to use "our and other?" It doesn't sound right to my ears, but I'm not sure how else to word it. Thanks!

  • If the author is talking only about the one study under discussion, why not this and other studies? – bib Jul 30 '14 at 16:41
  • @bib: at least in my field, referring directly “this paper”, “this study”, etc. is Not Done in academic writing, rather like referring to oneself directly as “I”. And again like that, there are some very awkward conventional circumlocutions — “the present paper”, for instance, is a standard alternative. No idea why, but it’s one of those well-entrenched quirks of academic style that it takes a brave author to break from. – PLL Jul 30 '14 at 16:57
  • The main problem with "our and other studies" is its ambiguity. Are the authors discussing the present study and other studies, or are they discussing an entire body of work and other studies (that is, "our studies and other studies"). – phoog Jul 30 '14 at 18:13
  • Hi everyone, thank you for your help! I didn't add the rest of the sentence because it got quite technical, but if people would like more clarification, the author is saying that our group's study as well as other groups' studies have previously been able to find the same results (and then goes into other things). Anyway, I changed it to "our study and others." This is my first time using this site (I stumbled upon it when I Googled my question), and I'm surprised at how swift the response was! I will probably use it again in the future. Thanks again! :) – Erika M. Jul 30 '14 at 19:06
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Your wording is adequate, but it would be more elegant to say "Although our study and others have previously reported a link between [...]."

  • +1 Indeed, it would be less ambiguous to say that. The phrase "our and other studies" could be read as "our studies and other studies" or "our study and other studies." – phoog Jul 30 '14 at 18:12
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There's no obvious logical/grammatical principle involved here, but a couple of minutes on Google Books and NGrams confirms that most people think much the same as me...

  • we don't like [possessive pronoun] and other (things, or people's things) 1

  • we like it even less if other isn't followed by another "possessive" form (then a "shared" noun)

  • We really don't like it with first person possessives (my, our)

I find these Google Books results telling...

"his and other villages" (655 hits)
"my and other villages" (1 hit)

As indicated, I don't think there's a grammatical "rule" there. But clearly there's a strong idiomatic preference that goes far beyond the stylistic constraints of formal academic texts.


In OP's specific case an easy way to avoid the "awkward, non-idiomatic" version is...

Although our study and others have previously...


1 By which I mean Does the word other attach to the noun itself (studies, in OP's case), or to other "possessors", such as people's (which is often just implicit).

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