Possessive Pronoun

Last week, Marc wrote:

How do idioms work? In particular, which of these is correct:

That seems up you and your wife’s alley.
That seems up your and your wife’s alley.

There’s no real ‘alley’, so the guidelines with respect to possession don’t apply.

The second example, “That seems up your and your wife’s alley,” is correct. In it, the possessive pronoun “your” indicates that Marc and his wife share the same interests or qualifications (their interests or qualifications are “up the same alley”), and that something of mutual interest has come to their attention (it’s up their alley”).

The first example, “That seems up you and your wife’s alley,” would never be correct, because neither “you alley” nor “you wife’s alley” makes sense.

I have never come across any rule stating that the guidelines with respect to possession don’t apply to idioms.

As always, I invite your questions and comments.

Blessings,
Tara

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About 123clear

I translate foggy information into plain English.
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2 Responses to Possessive Pronoun

  1. Dan says:

    I would go with “you and your wife’s alley” in the same way I would use “Paul and Edna’s alley” when Paul and Edna are a couple. It seems to me that “you and your wife” indicate a couple, and the possession should be with the unit rather than the individuals.

    • 123clear says:

      Interesting point, Dan. I don’t agree, though, because both a noun and a pronoun are involved.

      The post below may interest you:

        Compound Possessive (noun + pronoun)
        Posted on October 30, 2008

      Cheers,
      Tara

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