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I just received an email that had the following sentence,

We have plenty of magic that will pique your and your customers' interest.

Aside from the obvious errors, do we use "you" "yours" or "your"?

EDIT
The original sentence, verbatim:

"We have plenty of magic that will peak your & your customers interest."

marked as duplicate by FumbleFingers, Mitch, Chenmunka, Edwin Ashworth, Mr. Shiny and New 安宇 Sep 11 '15 at 14:26

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

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    "Your interest & your customers' interests", (I'm assuming you have multiple customers) may indeed be shortened to "Your & your customers' interests".. was that your question? – Born2Smile Sep 2 '15 at 17:12
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    It might depend on how closely you and your customers are associated (or more exactly, the extent to which your interest and theirs are "the same"). With a married couple (or just any couple, in fact) it would certainly be okay to refer to John and Jane's [wedding, house, whatever]. Personally I don't see anything particularly odd about using you in OP's context. – FumbleFingers Sep 2 '15 at 17:34
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    @FumbleFingers, indeed you and your may be equally valid if said interests belong to both. – Born2Smile Sep 2 '15 at 17:56
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    @michael_timofeev: yes, the linked questions are a mess, but a mess that needs to be cleaned up sometime. Putting it off will just add one more room (this question) to that maze. If you haven't found any good answers yet, I'll try to look through them myself to see if any say what I would. – herisson Sep 3 '15 at 1:43
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    possible duplicate of Possessive-S/apostrophe in a list, including the first and second person Also Use of the possessive apostrophe in a list, which is less concerned with possessive pronouns. – FumbleFingers Sep 3 '15 at 17:24
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There is not one correct answer, any of the solutions below are acceptable but the OP might be persuaded by the number of hits Google reports.

Google News has 114 results for your and your children's

  1. "Of the things he says that are wrong this is the most direct threat to your and your children's health."

  2. Contact your legislative and congressional representatives and encourage them to support your and your children's right to privacy and push ...

For you and your children's Google News reports 323 hits

  1. Grab your coat, hat and gloves, bundle up and head outside! Outdoor play is good for you and your children's health and physical development ...

  2. How many babies born last year share you and your children's names?

Google reports 11,500 hits for your name and your partner's name

  1. The account can be in your name and your partner’s name.

  2. Simply enter the name of your team, your name, and your partner's name and you're all set!

51,600 hits for your and your partner's

  1. This thinking reinforces the establishment of a great deal of inaccurate thinking regarding the quality of your and your partner's ideas and choices.
  2. SimpleTax is designed to automatically maximize your and your partner's combined refunds.

and 339,000 hits for you and your partner's

  1. Complete you and your partner's taxable income details
  2. If you and your partner's interests are poles apart, you need to ask yourself whether you are willing to do the things you enjoy alone or with other friends.

Google seems to suggests that “you and your customers' interest” (if both parties have the same interest in common) or “interests” is the preferred solution.

It avoids repeating the possessive adjective your twice in the same sentence, and if the noun that follows you and your is plural, it is unlikely a reader will interpret joint ownership of the thing in possession. Compare:

  • You / your and your partner's name = suggests that the couple might share the same name.
  • You and your partner's names = suggests at least two names per person
  • You and your children's names = no ambiguity

  • Your name and your partner's name = unequivocal but repetitive. Possibly the ideal solution for government documents, tax forms etc.

In conclusion, if one is looking for a perfectly grammatical sentence and one which expresses clearly its meaning, then I suggest the following solution:

We have plenty of magic that will pique your interest and your customers' interest.

If one is looking for the most harmonious solution, without changing the word order or any of the terms being used then this is perfectly acceptable:

We have plenty of magic that will pique you and your customers' interest.

  • Mari-Lou, thank you for answering. I really don't know what to think anymore on this one. When I say "you and your customers' interest." aloud it sounds right, however I can picture myself standing in front of two people and saying "your" to one person and then turning to another and saying "your interest." I'm going to go with your answer. – michael_timofeev Sep 5 '15 at 11:18
  • ok. Thanks for spending the time to address this. – michael_timofeev Sep 5 '15 at 11:31
  • I think the "You and your [noun + possessive apostrophe]" construction is a way of saying these people are indivisible, they go together. After all we do say: "You and your partner" and "You and your friends / children / family" Perhaps that's why e.g. "You and your customers' needs" sounds acceptable. – Mari-Lou A Sep 5 '15 at 11:50
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Another possibility is to say ". . . both your and your customers' interest."

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As the interest is possessed by both the reader and their customer I would suggest:

We have plenty of magic that will pique yours and your customers' interest.

Though for comprehension and asthetics I would reformat the text as

We have plenty of magic that will pique the interest of you and your customers'.

  • "the interest of you" does not sound good to me at all. Also, wouldn't "yours and your customer's interest" indicate disjoint rather than joint possession, and require the use of a plural "interests"? That's what the following answer seems to be saying if I'm interpreting it right: english.stackexchange.com/questions/55722/… – herisson Sep 3 '15 at 3:30
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    I don't think you need an apostrophe after customers in your second suggested wording, since the phrase "the interest of you and your customers" is structured so as to imply "the interest of you and the interest of your customers"—and "the interest of your customers" doesn't take an apostrophe. – Sven Yargs Sep 3 '15 at 9:04

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