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How do I change, for example, "the party/wedding/relationship/... of John and I" into the possessive case (possessive using 's)?

My train of thought goes a little something like this:

The party/wedding/relationship/... of John and I

(John and I)'s party/wedding/relationship/...

(John)'s and (I)'s party/wedding/relationship/...

John's and my party/wedding/relationship/...

Is this correct? I feel like it's similar to the distributive property in math. When using the possessive to denote a shared possession between two or more people, do you use the possessive case ('s) after the name and a possessive adjective in place of the subject pronoun? Any and all help is greatly appreciated! Thanks a lot in advance!

Edit: Hi. It's been a month. Yes, my thinking is correct. It is also correct if there are two names involved ("John's and Jane's relationship/friendship/etc.). All I ever wanted was a definitive yes or no answer, but they just deflected. Hope this helped someone. No one was ever helpful on here. In fact, I shouldn't even be here. I'm a native speaker, ffs, but for some reason my question about a legitimate usage of English Grammar was so unimportant and unacademic that they "suggested" (closed my question and moved it) that I would be more suitable here. Thank you all so much, you really have proved your deuterostome traits by not ever evolving beyond that stage.

Love, me.

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    Does this answer your question? possessive form with plural subjects
    – ColleenV
    Feb 3 at 15:52
  • @ColleenV no. The example you gave me was of possessives with two proper nouns (names). My question is about a name and a personal pronoun. Feb 9 at 6:41
  • Perhaps just one noun at a time would be easier to understand. If you read what this professor thinks, just avoid this situation and say: Our relationship, party or wedding. brians.wsu.edu/2016/05/19/joint-possessives [I know how you feel. :)]
    – Lambie
    Mar 7 at 15:28

1 Answer 1

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In traditional grammar rules, "of John and I" would be an error, as "John and I" is the object of the preposition "of" and so should be in the objective form: "of John and me".

The English "apostrophe s" derives from the Old English genitive case, but it nowadays functions as a clitic (a little word, written as a suffix). It is usually added to the end of phrase to give:

It is John and Sally's party.

It is problematic when the second noun is a pronoun. The usual solution is either to reverse the order, and use "mine":

It's mine and John's party.

or completely rephrase

It's my party that I'm sharing with John.

With "wedding", you would normally use a pronoun (since the identity of John is probably clear from context.

Our wedding

With "relationship" there are lots of options.

My relationship with John

the relationship between John and me

The key take-away is that 1. Yes this is problematic, but 2. Solve the problem, don't get stuck on using a particular form of grammar.

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  • But is my thinking correct, though? Would saying "Sally is attending John's and my party" be grammatical? Jan 15 at 12:57

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