8

My friend asked me to rephrase this sentence.

  • Yesterday I went to the wedding of a daughter of my husband's brother.

I came up with these:

a.) Yesterday I went to my husband's brother's daughter's wedding.

b.) I went to my husband's brother's daughter's wedding yesterday.

c.) I went to the wedding of my husband's brother's daughter yesterday.

d.) I went to one of my husband's brother's daughter's wedding yesterday.

e.) I went to my husband's niece's wedding yesterday.

f.) I went to my niece's wedding yesterday.

I do not know why but only e.) and f.) sound okay to me. The others although I think they are grammatical, sound so OFF because of the possessive nouns:/

Thank you for the help in advance :)

  • 2
    They are not "off," they just sound a bit awkward because we don't normally string together possessives like that. – J.R. Jan 19 '17 at 21:53
  • Just for fun comparison note the lyrics Yakko : The bottom of the family tree Starts with Yakko; that is me. I'm the cousin to the sister Of the son's niece's brother Of the uncle's daughter's father Of the nephew's sister's mother And my grandpa's only cousin Was the King's daughter's sibling, But they're all gone, Crowd : So that is why Yakko : I am now your king! – DRF Jan 20 '17 at 9:38
17

The daughter of your husband's brother is your niece. We don't normally distinguish between family relations by birth and family relations by marriage.

Unless for some reason you need to. In which case you would say:

She is the daughter of my brother-in-law.

or

She is my brother-in-law's daughter.

Of course it's perfectly fine to say "husband's brother's daughter". It's just a lot to say when you mean "niece".

So to answer your question, (f) is most appropriate:

I went to my niece's wedding yesterday.

("Niece's is pronounced "neesses", at least in the "standard" American accent)

  • Given that niece is "a daughter of one's brother or sister, or of one's brother-in-law or sister-in-law", what's the right term for "niece from my wife's family"? – Jesvin Jose Jan 20 '17 at 15:07
  • @aitchnyu Your wife's niece is your niece. As I said, most of the time we don't distinguish. If for some reason you need to you can also say something like "a cousin from my wife's side of the family". This may be different in BrE than AmE, though, and it probably varies a bit from person to person. For example, my wife also calls my brothers her "brothers", but others would say "brother-in-law". – Andrew Jan 20 '17 at 15:12
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    Can confirm this all checks out for BrE too. – Chris Jan 20 '17 at 17:04
8

Grammar

Only d) is grammatically incorrect, and only slightly so. It should say

I went to one of my husband's brother's daughters' wedding yesterday.

because you are using "one of". Apart from that, the sentences are grammatically correct, but you're right that they sound a little silly.

Usage

f) is your best option. It's redundant to say "my husband's niece" because as Andrew points out we do not distinguish.

  • Ah .. Yeah .. because of one of the daughter should be in the plural form of course .. I did not notice .. But thanks for your bringing it to my attention :) – Marah Jan 19 '17 at 22:16
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    This doesn't sound right in British English, because "one of" would normally apply to everything following it, i.e. "my husband's brother's daughters' wedding". But you can't have "one of" something (a wedding) that is singular! "one of my husband's brother's daughters' weddings" sounds better, but it implies your niece gets married (and divorced?) frequently! You could split off the singular "wedding" and say something like "One of my husband's brother's daughters got married yesterday, and I went to the wedding". – alephzero Jan 20 '17 at 1:35
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    Also, I fear "one of my husband's" in spoken language might lead the listener to wonder how many husbands you have. – verbose Jan 20 '17 at 6:18
  • @alephzero If it's "daughters' weddings" then there were multiple daughters involved; it could be that two daughters each married once. But I'd avoid writing sentence d) in most cases for the very reason that it's such a puzzle to decipher what it might mean. (The exception would be if I were crafting a word puzzle.) – David K Jan 20 '17 at 13:36

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