me and my wife's? or my and my wife's?

Discussion in 'English Only' started by ivarmada, Oct 13, 2008.

  1. ivarmada New Member

    Seoul, Korea
    Hello. Folks!

    As shown in the subject, I have a question regarding the usage of possessive case. Which one of following is a right expression?

    1) These are me and my wife's pictures.
    2) These are my wife's and my pictures.

    I have learned from my English totur that in subjective case "My wife and I" is more natural and common than "Me and my wife". So, in same reason, I think "my wife's and my" should be right, but sounds strange....-_- It's so hard to learn English....sigh.

    As always, thank you very much for your help. Also, I welcome any other comments pointing out errors I've made in this writing. I appreciate that!
  2. b1947420 Senior Member

    There are numerous previous posts on this very point.

    Search for "me" or "I" to find them. This will answer your questions
  3. SwissPete

    SwissPete Senior Member

    94044 USA
    Français (CH), AE (California)
    Welcome to the forum, ivarmada.

    You can avoid the problem (and contruct a better sentence, in my estimation) by saying "These are pictures of my wife and me".

    PS: It is considered more polite in English to say "My wife and me" rather than "Me and my wife".
  4. chajadan Senior Member

    "These are pictures of my wife and me" will mean in English that he and his wife appear in the photographs, not that they belong to him and his wife.

    To ivarmada, I prefer your first sentence most: "These are me and my wife's pictures." -- it is what I would say in normal speech.

    Last edited: Oct 13, 2008
  5. sdgraham

    sdgraham Senior Member

    Oregon, USA
    USA English
    There are indeed some people who use the objective pronoun and say "These are me pictures," instead of the standard English possessive pronoun "These are my pictures."

    Such usage is generally ill-advised on job applications, language evaluations, etc.
  6. chajadan Senior Member

    I would like to note that I would never say "These are me pictures."

    My use of "me and my wife's" belies a perception of "me and my wife" a single instance of the idea of two such related people, then, perhaps with abandon, adds 's to the entire noun phrase.
  7. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    This is a really difficult issue, ivarmada.

    If we were talking about "John and his wife", there would be no difficulty: These are John and his wife's pictures.

    But the minute you introduce a pronoun, the syntax gets difficult. These are I and my wife's pictures:confused: These are me and my wife's pictures:confused: These are my and my wife's pictures:confused: None of them sounds right.

    The simplest solution is to choose either: These are pictures of me and my wife (some people would prefer These are pictures of my wife and myself)

    or These pictures belong to me and my wife/These pictures belong to my wife and myself.

    In practice, though, we tend to avoid these sorts of constructions with pronouns, at least in more formal contexts. Nothing really sounds 100% correct:(
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2008
  8. chajadan Senior Member

    Since when did "these are my pictures" imply that I was also ~in~ them, rather than simply denote that I own them, they belong to me?
  9. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
  10. chajadan Senior Member

    What I mean is:

    "These are our pictures." = "These pictures are ours." :tick:
    "These are our pictures." = "These pictures are of us." :cross: (certainly not)
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2008
  11. KHS

    KHS Senior Member

    I'm in the avoid-the-structure camp.
    Assuming we are talking about the pictures belonging to you and your wife:

    These pictures belong to my wife and me.
  12. GreenWhiteBlue

    GreenWhiteBlue Senior Member

    The City of New York
    USA - English
    Why not just use the plural form?

    If the pictures belong to you and your wife, say "These are our pictures."

    If the pictures are of you and your wife, say "These are pictures of us."
  13. panjandrum

    panjandrum Occasional Moderator

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    The original question is talking about possession.
    The pictures belong to my wife and me.

    Because of the obvious complications noted above, it would be unusual for a fluent native speaker to use any of the structures that involve 's or a possessive pronoun.
    These pictures belong to my wife and me.

    This question is somewhat related to Possessive - Peter and Janes marriage?
  14. chajadan Senior Member

    The problem is that "our" and "us" require an antecedent. It may not suffice to simply say "our" if you are at a large family gathering -- you may need to specify that something belongs to just "me and my wife".

    I concede that the question here is not so much whether or not proper formations can be made -- proper formations have been provided -- the question has become whether or not you can maintain the originally posted sentence as closely as possible while marking possession in a proper manner.
  15. panjandrum

    panjandrum Occasional Moderator

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    It is entirely reasonable, of course, to answer the original question with "It depends what you mean by a right expression. There may be a version that is, strictly, grammatically correct - but it is not a natural English sentence. As a student of English you should avoid this structure and express the meaning in another way. That's what native speakers would do."

    Too often, I think, we find ourselves concocting or defending grammatically correct gobbledygook (me too).
  16. winklepicker

    winklepicker Senior Member

    English (UK)
    Yes, but this is a pronunciation, not a spelling (at least, I hope it is!). An Estuarian seeing "These are my pictures" might well say "These are me pictures": I might do so meself.

    Back to the question, about which you might think there is nothing to add. But I would suggest that neither option (These are me and my wife's pictures or These are my wife's and my pictures) is 'correct', because of the confusion of meaning referred to above.

    Before deciding on a 'correct' form, we need to establish if the point of the possessive is ownership or depiction.

    If the former, then These pictures are mine and my wife's is natural-ish. If the latter These pictures are of me and my wife.

    But since feminism, many of us choose to ignore this in favour of a more natural construction. Just as we refuse to open doors for ladies... ;)

    Well, in my idiolect, since forever. Henry VIII's picture in the National Gallery would be one example. :)

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