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  1. Key Member
    Academic
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      • Native Language:
      • Armenian
      • Home Country:
      • Iran
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Nov 2002
    • Posts: 2,607
    #1

    my and my brother's

    1) I have repaired my and my brother's computer.
    2) I have repaired my and my brother's computers.


    I think in '1' there is one computer and joint ownership.
    I think '2' is ambiguous. Maybe there is joint ownership of multiple computers. Maybe there is separate ownership of two (one per person) or more computers.

    Is that correct?

    Gratefully,
    Navi.

  2. VIP Member
    Interested in Language
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      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Dec 2015
    • Posts: 13,648
    #2

    Re: my and my brother's

    Yes. It's best to avoid this kind of ambiguity. Knowing how to recognize it is the first step.
    I am not a teacher.

  3. Editor, UsingEnglish.com
    English Teacher
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      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
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      • Japan

    • Join Date: Nov 2002
    • Posts: 65,372
    #3

    Re: my and my brother's

    Quote Originally Posted by GoesStation View Post
    It's best to avoid this kind of ambiguity.
    Navi has been engaged in serious research into such ambiguities for many years. He digs out ambiguities that native speakers wouldn't notice.

  4. VIP Member
    Interested in Language
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      • Native Language:
      • American English
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      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Dec 2015
    • Posts: 13,648
    #4

    Re: my and my brother's

    It gets worse: the number of brothers changes depending on where you place the apostrophe.
    I am not a teacher.

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