I want to include a dedication in my thesis.

I wrote To my parents, my brother and my sister.

First of all, is this right? Second, what is the "ranking"? Should brother be first or sister?

  • The "I included right after the title page, after it I give a famous quotation, is this the right ordering?" part of the question is a separate question that will be better answered on writers.stackexchange.com, so I have removed it from your question text.
    – Matt
    May 15, 2013 at 13:57
  • Also academia.stackexchange.com could be a place to ask for ordering of title page, epigraph, and dedication.
    – Stephen
    May 15, 2013 at 17:06

3 Answers 3


One way of saying this is "to my parents and siblings."


To avoid the ambiguity of whether your parents are your brother and sister (which in this case might cause a chuckle, even though it would be understood, but which slows down reading slightly), you would either put your parents last:

To my brother, my sister and my parents

Or you might want to consider using an Oxford comma:

To my parents, my brother, and my sister.

There are no strict rules on ordering such a list in a book - you might want to list them in:

  • order of age
  • order of priority / importance
  • order of how much help they were
  • to recognize the idiomatic ordering of the expression "brother and sister" rather than "sister and brother"
  • to improve the "sound" or "rhythm" of the sentence
  • or on any other criterion that you happen to choose.
  • Is it ok to keep just the first "my"?
    – canoe
    May 15, 2013 at 14:17
  • 1
    If you omit all but the first "my," you run the very real risk of suggesting your parents are siblings. It may cause a chuckle to suggest that your parents are your brother and your sister, but your parents being brother and sister is actually possible. If you choose that route, please do include the "oxford comma."
    – horatio
    May 15, 2013 at 16:21
  • 1
    I have now decided for "To my sister, my brother and my parents." Because in my country it is usable to name the women first. I hope this is ok.
    – Jen Bohold
    May 15, 2013 at 16:31

I would use:

To my parents and my brother and sister.


To my parents and my sister and brother.

This removes the ambiguity that Matt is referring to, and keeps the 'first named honour' with mum & dad. They should come first. (You could have completed the thesis without your brother and sister being there.)

It's your choice as to whether the brother or sister go first. To be consistent, you could select the oldest of the two to have the honour.

  • thanks! I will take "To my parents and my sister and brother" But what about: "To my parents and my sister and my brother"?
    – Jen Bohold
    May 16, 2013 at 8:00
  • The extra 'my' isn't necessary, but if you like the flow of the statement when you use it, feel free. In a normal sentence, you wouldn't use it, but in a dedication, it's more a matter of style than right/wrong.
    – mcalex
    May 16, 2013 at 8:21

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