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Is saying "my three cats" wrong? Should it be "three cats of mine"?

My English books says that the latter one is correct, but to my ear, the first one sounds correct too.

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  • I've never heard of any rule that would indicate "my three cats" was incorrect. Does your book go into any detail at all, any explanation of what's wrong with it?
    – rcook
    Aug 1, 2020 at 10:27
  • I'll try translating the book. "Don't put an article, number nor, for example, pronouns "this/that" or "these/those" in front of pronouns. If you want to use these words, you must choose the double genitive i.e. of-genetive and independent form of the pronoun. Examples: a friend of mine, three cats of his, this letter of hers, those claims of yours" Aug 1, 2020 at 10:35
  • I understand that "my a friend, her this letter, your those claim" don't sound right, but the cat one "his three cats" sounds right to me. Aug 1, 2020 at 10:37
  • Thank you. It sounds like they're saying not to put the number before the pronoun; your example has tne number after it.
    – rcook
    Aug 1, 2020 at 10:37
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    My three cats implies that you have only three cats. Three cats of mine refers only to those particular cats. You may well have several more. Both expressions are fine; they just mean different things. Aug 1, 2020 at 11:02

1 Answer 1

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Putting numbers in front of nouns is accepted, even after determiners. For example, there is a TV program called "My Three Sons". However, there is a difference between My three cats and Three cats of mine as you were told in the comment by Ronald Sole:

My three cats implies that you have only three cats. Three cats of mine refers only to those particular cats. You may well have several more. Both expressions are fine; they just mean different things.

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