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Is correct to say "my question is" or "mine question is". When I talk, I automatically use "my question is", but "mine" is a possessive pronoun and somehow when I think about it (and translate it literally from my mother tongue) then somehow it seems to me I should use "mine question is...". Can anyone please help me clear this and give some explanation and guidelines to now when to use which word? Thanks!

24

The correct phrasing is my question is.

As you rightly note, my is a possessive adjective and mine is a possessive pronoun. So, this means you use my where you already have a noun (such as question) and want to indicate ownership. Like with all pronouns, you use mine in place of another noun when it's understood what's being discussed.

Mine question is is ungrammatical, because it incorrectly uses two nouns (mine and question) as the subject of a sentence. You use either a noun or a pronoun, never both at the same time. Use a noun (my question) if the topic is just being introduced, or a pronoun (mine) if the reader or listener will already know you are talking about (they will know you are talking about your question).

The following are correct:

  • My question is [something] uses my to indicate whose question is being described.
  • That question is mine uses mine to refer back to the subject (that question) and add information describing whose it is.
  • Mine is [something] describes some object of yours (e.g. your question) which was previously named and is currently the topic of conversation.
  • 1
    Thanks for YOUR great explanation! :) (your: possesive adjective) – Dantes Jun 4 '14 at 8:30
9

Both my and mine are possessives, but they are used rather differently.

My is put before a noun to indicate your possession (or other kinds of relationships with the noun). For example,

My question is how my and mine are different in usage.

Mine is similar to my, but it cannot be used with a following noun the same way as my, i.e. it can't be put before a noun.

This dog is mine.

Mine question is how my and mine are different in usage.

It may be easier if you think of mine as my X, where X is something already known to the speaker and listener. For example,

Your child is bad. Mine is good.

Mine there must be a child because the speaker said "your child" before that.

Mine is good. ~ My child is good.

Likewise,

This dog is mine. ~ This dog is my dog.

You have your talent. I have mine. ~ You have your talent. I have my talent.

In the last three examples above, although the versions with my used are grammatical, they may not be natural because of their redundancy. It's easier to say "I have mine" than "I have my talent" when it is known what is being talked about--talent.

There is another use of mine, which is in double possessives (of mine), but that is not very relevant here.

The same goes for other similar pairs: his-his, her-hers, our-ours, its-its, their-theirs, and your-yours, as well. Please also note that its is not usually used without a following noun.

I've had my breakfast, and the dog's had its breakfast too. (NOT ... and the dog's had its.)

(taken from Practical English Usage, entry 442)

Therefore, the only correct one is my question is.

1

'My' can be used as a possessive pronoun or adjective, but 'mine' can only be used as a pronoun. It means 'my' is always placed before a noun. e. g

My book is blue.

Whereas 'mine' cannot be used as above. 'Mine' is always used after a helping verb to refer to something previously mentioned. e. g

The blue book is mine.

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This is my personal observation, so take it as such. When used as an adjective in older English texts, 'my' precedes a word beginning with a consonant, while 'mine' precedes a word beginning with a vowel. For example, you will see "Mine eyes have seen the glory," and "My country, 'tis of thee."

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