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What is the correct way to indicate "Justin and I" as being possessive of our individual lives in this sentence? Is there a way to do this without restructuring the sentence?

A friend of mine posted a Facebook status that said, "It was this week that Justin and my lives changed forever," in regard to a Facebook memory. This doesn't sound correct to me, as it is possessive and thus, I assume, needs a possessive suffix ('s) after either "Justin" or "my".

I've seen some other threads on here that come pretty close to answering my question, but they all follow the joint possessive (my and Justin's) with a singular noun, like "cat" or "seafood dinner".

The best solution I can think of is to change "Justin and my" to "our", but in a sentence that follows she says, "Now he's gone over a year...etc." without any other reference to Justin, so I feel like individual identity might be important to maintain. Some other possibilities that I've seen suggested include:

  • It was this week that Justin and my's lives changed forever
  • It was this week that my and Justin's lives changed forever
  • It was this week that mine and Justin's lives changed forever
  • It was this week that Justin and I's lives changed forever
  • It was this week that Justin and my's life changed forever

Are any of these suggestions even remotely correct?

Thanks in advance, everyone!


Links to the threads I mentioned:

Another page I found - they suggest 'our' the the second last paragraph

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    Why do you think there is a “correct” answer? – tchrist Apr 19 '18 at 1:39
  • I don't, necessarily. In fact, I'm expecting a few people to tell me to just use "our" and restructure the rest of the paragraph to make more sense. But I suppose the easiest answer is that I've always been taught that, because of grammar/syntax rules, there is a definitive "right way" and a "wrong way" to word sentences. Same reason we have protocols and standards in computer science - to provide order and structure. I guess I'm making the assumption that there is a rule for every situation (but as we know, "when you assume, you make an ass out of u and me"). – Kyle_24 Apr 19 '18 at 2:26
  • Language is not a formal system. It is not math. It is just something people get used to doing. All grammars leak. – tchrist Apr 19 '18 at 5:35
  • My's and I's are definitely wrong. Personally, I would prefer 'my and Justin's', but 'Justin's and my' is acceptable. – Kate Bunting Apr 19 '18 at 8:27
  • @tchrist Try telling that to my English instructors (lol). I do see your point, but I wish you would be a little more constructive and maybe try offer a solution instead. Perhaps it's just me, but you're coming off a bit standoffish. – Kyle_24 Apr 20 '18 at 6:37
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The least amount of restructuring I can think of is:

It was this week that both my life and Justin's changed forever.

The use of both makes it clear that there are two lives—rather than a shared single life (in the case of a partnership).

Without any restructuring, the "best" that can be done (I think) is:

It was this week that Justin's and my life changed forever.

With joint ownership, the possessive belongs to the final subject. In the example, since the first subject has a possessive, it could be assumed that there is no joint ownership. Of course, this is still not ideal. I don't think there is a good solution without some degree of restructuring.

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