Which is appropriate while addressing in-laws?

My mother-in-law and father-in-law are visiting us this weekend.


My mother and father-in-law are visiting us this weekend.

  • 2
    I have heard "My in-laws are coming this weekend." Which would help compound the sentence. – shachna Jun 27 '12 at 6:51

The first avoids the ambiguity of the second, where the visitors could conceivably be the speaker's father-in-law and the speaker's mother.


As Barrie has said, one removes the ambiguity you have identified.

You could say something more idiomatic, like "My in-laws are coming," or "My wife's parents are coming," which are certainly less awkward. Or even, "My wife's mother and father are coming," if you want to include both separately.


If you are writing the sentence, punctuating it this way will help the meaning, too:

My mother- and father-in-law are visiting us this weekend.

It's called a suspended hyphen. If you're speaking it, though, it's probably better to say mother-in-law and father-in-law.


How about:

My parents-in-law are visiting us this weekend.


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.