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Example:

When my mother came back from the island, she came back as a newborn Christian. [...] was shocked, especially since none of them belonged to that religion.

(In this case, they refer to the mother's parents/brothers/sisters, and also the husband's parents/brothers/sisters. Not the husband because he was dead. And not the speaker because he was still a baby. So there's no immediate family.)

What would a native English speaker use in cases like this? Her family, my family, our family, or my relatives?

  • "When my mother . . . her family and that of her late husband's . . ." is probably the most accurate but it's a bit of a mouthful. (click on the link to see how other authors have coped.) – Mari-Lou A Apr 13 '15 at 5:33
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    A person's parents and siblings are normally considered to be their immediate family! So I'm not sure what you're trying to ask. A term to cover both your immediate family and your spouse's immediate family? – curiousdannii Apr 13 '15 at 6:09
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I'd say relative

noun: relative; plural noun: relatives
- a person connected by blood or marriage.

When my mother came back from the island, she came back as a newborn Christian. [...] was shocked, especially since none of her relatives belonged to that religion.

  • How would you fit "relative" within the OP's sentence? (I'm tempted to upvote, but you need to be a little more precise). EDIT: What about the empty space? – Mari-Lou A Apr 13 '15 at 5:52
  • Try "her relatives and in-laws". – Brian Hitchcock Apr 13 '15 at 6:21
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Inlaws, extended family, clan, tribe.

In your case I would say extended family.

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