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What possessive forms are used for mutual 1st person ownership?
My wife and I's seafood collaboration dinner
Possessive for a third person and a first person

My and my husband Jack Millan’s parents are distant relatives and knew each other.

You get the gist of what I am trying to say. Is it correct?

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  • It may be easier to say: "My parents and my husband Jack Millan's parents are distant relatives and knew each other." Just separate the subject into two subjects instead of using some strange clause construction.
    – Adam
    Aug 25, 2012 at 7:52
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    Is it really necessary to specify your husband Jack Millan as opposed to all you other husbands? Aug 25, 2012 at 14:24

4 Answers 4

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I'm sure more could be said about this, but I'll say something briefly so that you have a timely answer.

You can get an answer by thinking about the coordination. According to some theories of grammar (all, in my experience), in order to coordinate two phrases, they need to be of the same type (I have a somewhat technical concept of type in mind, but you probably have a good enough natural idea of what I mean). My husband's parents is a determiner phrase. You can test for this by trying to replace it with a proper name like Jack. My is not a determiner phrase (it clearly fails this test), so on this analysis, I think that you are in some trouble. Instead of my, you could use mine, since this is a determiner phrase. So I would say:

Mine and my husband Jack Millan’s parents are distant relatives and knew each other.

Or also:

My husband Jack Millan’s parents and mine are distant relatives and knew each other.

For stylistic reasons, you might want to edit it to an easier structure to parse.

Of course, you could also analyze the coordination as taking my and my husband Jak Millan's as arguments. So there might not be a good syntactic reason for preferring one over the other. But one might be generally easier or the first choice for our brains to parse, and I think my brain prefers using mine.

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  • Your first example seems to be a shortening of ?*mine parents*; the second is perfectly sensible. Aug 27, 2012 at 14:29
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    @TimLymington: They are the same structurally except that the order is reversed; the grouping doesn't change: [[Mine] and [my husband Jack Millan’s parents]], [[My husband Jack Millan’s parents] and [Mine]]. The sentence in the OP is structurally ambiguous. You can also parse it as: [[[My] and [my husband Jack Millan’s]] parents]. This is possibly the structure that you are using, and yes, mine does not work in this case. (See here for bracket notation.)
    – Rachel
    Aug 27, 2012 at 16:11
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    All I meant was that you cannot idiomatically put mine first, any more than you could say ?mine is the same as your opinion Aug 28, 2012 at 14:03
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    @TimLymington: Oh, right. Yes, I also thought that it sounded a little strange, but this was actually only upon reflection when reading it. I think that in normal speech, it would be fine. But lots of stuff is fine in speech that is less fine in writing.
    – Rachel
    Aug 28, 2012 at 18:12
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'My parents and those of my husband Jack Millan are distant relatives and knew each other.'

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  • The advantage of this one is that you can put commas round Jack Millan, which renders it less liable to misinterpretation. Aug 25, 2012 at 14:26
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My parents and my husband’s are distant relatives and knew each other.

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  • I was thinking something along these same lines. It could run even smoother by saying, "My parents and Jack's parents are distant relatives..." (assuming the hearer already knew the husband's name, which doesn't seem like a far-fetched assumption).
    – J.R.
    Aug 25, 2012 at 8:58
  • @J.R Or even "My and Jack's parents are distant relatives…"
    – WS2
    Feb 29, 2020 at 9:12
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My parents are distant relatives of my husband's parents and knew each other.

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