You and your partner's meal

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sonix

Senior Member
Spain
Is this sentence I read in a student's English exercise grammatically correct : `You and your partner's meal arrives at different times. ´ (situation : at a restaurant)?

Shouldn't it be : `You and your partner´s meals arrive at ...´ ?

Why is it singular in the exercise book´s sentence? is it a mistake? can `meal´ refer to two separate meals, i.e. yours and your partner´s, written in singular ?

Thanks in advance for your answers ;)
 
  • sonix

    Senior Member
    Spain
    But if you write it in plural, is it wrong? or is it correct too? , as in ` You and your partner´s meals arrive at different times. ´
     

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    Sonix, the meal refers to the whole dining occasion, so the person and the partner are having the same meal. People talk about going out for a meal - singular again. You can talk about dishes if you want to think about separate courses or separate orders.
     

    Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    Seems all right in the plural for me. I order penne arrabiata and and my companion orders linguine and clams. We don't plan on sharing them. My meal arrives in 10 minutes and my companion's in 20 minutes. So ...

    You and your partner's meals arrive at different times.

    A meal can be thought of as the particular meal you have ordered for yourself. Since there are two people, there will two meals. And since a meal might consist of appetizer, main course and dessert, the meals could vary a great deal between multiple diners.
     

    Biffo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Is this sentence I read in a student's English exercise grammatically correct : `You and your partner's meal arrives at different times. ´ (situation : at a restaurant)?

    Shouldn't it be : `You and your partner´s meals arrive at ...´ ?

    Why is it singular in the exercise book´s sentence? is it a mistake? can `meal´ refer to two separate meals, i.e. yours and your partner´s, written in singular ?

    Thanks in advance for your answers ;)
    I'm not sure who I agree with.

    My reply:

    You and your partner's meal arrives at different times. :cross:

    You and your partner's meal arrives at the same time. (It is a shared meal) :tick:

    You[r] and your partner's meals arrive at different times. :tick:

    You[r] and your partner's meals arrive at the same time. :tick:
     

    sonix

    Senior Member
    Spain
    I'm not sure who I agree with.

    My reply:

    You and your partner's meal arrives at different times. :cross:

    You and your partner's meal arrives at the same time. (It is a shared meal) :tick:

    You[r] and your partner's meals arrive at different times. :tick:

    You[r] and your partner's meals arrive at the same time. :tick:
    In the last two examples that Biffo mentions as correct, shouldn't it be `Yours and your partner's meal arrive ...´ as the first word requires a pronoun and not an adjective?
     
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    Biffo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    In the last two examples that Biffo mentions as correct, shouldn't it be `Yours and your partner's meal arrive ...´ as the first word requires a pronoun and not an adjective?
    It's a good point.

    It depends on what you want the sentences to mean.

    (a) You and your partner's meals arrive at different times. ----> (You and your partner)'s meals arrive at different times. (This can refer to a single sitting.)

    (b) Your and your partner's meals arrive at different times ----> Your meals and your partner's arrive at different times. (This refers to several meals)

    (c) Yours and your partner's meals arrive at different times ----> Your partner's meals and yours arrive at different times. (This refers to several meals)
     
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    sonix

    Senior Member
    Spain
    Thanks Biffo. Only mentioning that, as I wrote in my reply above, if you write `meal´ in singular, then it would refer to a single sitting too, right?, as in `Yours and your partner´s meal arrive at different times.´ ---> your meal and your partner´s meal arrive at different times on that particular occasion.
     

    Biffo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Thanks Biffo. Only mentioning that, as I wrote in my reply above, if you write `meal´ in singular, then it would refer to a single sitting too, right?, as in `Yours and your partner´s meal arrive at different times.´ ---> your meal and your partner´s meal arrive at different times on that particular occasion.
    Yes, I agree!
     

    Biffo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I cannot accept either 'You' or 'Yours and your partner's meal(s) arrive(s)...'

    You would never say 'You meal arrives...' or 'Yours meal arrives...'
    I think we need to pick this apart.

    Would you be happy with "Janet and John's meal arrives"?

    I think most people would accept that but would not claim that therefore "Janet meal arrives" is correct.
     
    I can see the argument (though I disagree with it) for 'You and your partner's meal' meaning 'The meal of you and your partner' if both were sharing the same meal (though you couldn't reverse it and say 'Your partner's and you meal').

    I obviously accept 'Janet and John's meal' as both were sharing it, and 'Janet's and John's meals' if they were having different dishes.

    But I consider it incorrect to say 'You [Janet] and your partner's [John's] meals' for the reason stated above. The possessive adjective 'your' replaces 'Janet's', but the possessive pronoun 'yours' cannot precede a noun.

    'Your...meal arrives...' :tick:

    'Yours...meal arrives...':cross:
     

    Biffo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I can see the argument (though I disagree with it) for 'You and your partner's meal' meaning 'The meal of you and your partner' if both were sharing the same meal (though you couldn't reverse it and say 'Your partner's and you meal').

    I obviously accept 'Janet and John's meal' as both were sharing it, and 'Janet's and John's meals' if they were having different dishes.

    But I consider it incorrect to say 'You [Janet] and your partner's [John's] meals' for the reason stated above...
    I don't accept your logic, based as it is on reversal.

    1. You say: 'You and your partner's meal' cannot be inverted to 'Your partner's and you meal'
    2. I agree.
    3. You say that therefore 'You and your partner's meal' is incorrect.
    4. I disagree because, if that were a sufficient reason, I could duplicate your argument and say...
    5. 'Janet and John's meal' cannot be inverted to 'John's and Janet meal'
    6. Therefore by your logic' Janet and John's meal' is incorrect.
    7. But you have already agreed that 'Janet and John's meal' is correct.

    Conclusion

    You have stated that 'Janet and John's meal' is at the same time correct and provably incorrect.

    This is inconsistent so your argument must fail.
     
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    Let's change the pronoun.

    'She and her partner's meals arrive...'/'Her and her partner's meals arrive...'/'Hers and her partner's meals arrive...'

    'We and our partners' meals arrive...'/'Our and our partner's meals arrive...'/'Ours and our partners' meals arrive...'

    Try it with 'they/their/theirs' and 'I/my/mine'.

    Only the possessive adjective (my, your, his, her, our, their) works for me.
     

    Biffo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Let's change the pronoun.

    'She and her partner's meals arrive...'/'Her and her partner's meals arrive...'/'Hers and her partner's meals arrive...'

    'We and our partners' meals arrive...'/'Our and our partner's meals arrive...'/'Ours and our partners' meals arrive...'

    Try it with 'they/their/theirs' and 'I/my/mine'.

    Only the possessive adjective (my, your, his, her, our, their) works for me.
    I believe there is an inconsistency, for example in my experience very few people say, "My and my partner's meal." I think most would say "Me and my partner's meal."

    Which would you say in the context of a real restaurant?
     

    Edinburgher

    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    The original question is whether it should be "meals arrive" or "meal arrives".
    The answer is that it absolutely must be plural ("meals arrive"). It makes no sense to say that one event happens at the same as itself, because it's redundant. When we are talking about arrival times of two meals (yours and your partner's), then they can arrive at different times or they can arrive at the same time, and in both cases it is understood that two events (arrival times) are being compared, and they are either equal or not.

    In the case of a shared meal, it (one meal) cannot arrive "at the same time" without raising the question "at the same time as what?" It can't be at the same time as each other, because "each other" implies plurality, and doesn't work when there's only one.

    You(r) and your partner's meal arrives at the same time. :cross: This is wrong unless context establishes the existence of some other event with which the (singular) arrival of the (singular) meal happens to co-occur.
     

    Edinburgher

    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    I believe there is an inconsistency, for example in my experience very few people say, "My and my partner's meal." I think most would say "Me and my partner's meal."

    Which would you say in the context of a real restaurant?
    I would probably say "Our meal", or "My partner's and my meal". Etiquette demands one not name oneself first.
    But there is a separate problem. Let's revert to "Your and your partner's" so that the potential rudeness of the first person coming first is avoided.

    It is strange to change the first "your" to "you", because to me "You and your partner's meals arrived at the same time" means that your partner's meals arrived at the same time as you arrived, not that your partner's meal arrived at the same time as your meal arrived.
     

    Biffo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    The original question is whether it should be "meals arrive" or "meal arrives"... In the case of a shared meal, it (one meal) cannot arrive "at the same time" without raising the question "at the same time as what?" It can't be at the same time as each other, because "each other" implies plurality, and doesn't work when there's only one...
    Agreed :thumbsup:
     

    fivejedjon

    Senior Member
    English - England
    It is strange to change the first "your" to "you", because to me "You and your partner's meals arrived at the same time" means that your partner's meals arrived at the same time as you arrived, not that your partner's meal arrived at the same time as your meal arrived.
    That makes perfect logical sense, and those words are indeed what we would say if you arrived at the same time as your partner's meal.

    Logic also tells us that "Yours and your partner's meals" should be illogical, because it implies "Yours [...] meals", while "Your partner's meals and yours" is fine (though "Your partners and yours meals" is clearly wrong).

    As Biffo has demonstrated, the argument cannot be resolved by inversion.

    My personal opinion (and that's all it is) is that the only logically correct version can be "Your and your partner's meals". Unfortunately for logic and me, it's the one form I almost certainly would not use. If I were to say such a thing, I might say say "Yours and your partner's meal" (probably thinking of 'yours' as 'your meal') or "You and your partner's meals" (probably by analogy with 'Janet and John's meals').

    This is one of those cases where style-guide writers might attempt to prescribe by logic, but people just say what comes into their minds; they don't worry about it unless/until somebody asks a question about it in a forum such as this.
     
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