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    • Join Date: Dec 2007
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    Polite Forms for Pronouns

    I have asked this question on yahoo answers but no one knows. I would like to know the polite rule for English regarding pronoun order when referring to "you" and another person. For example, "I would like to know what you and Matt thought about the play." Even more confusing is possessive personal pronoun rules such as, "What is your and Matt's schedule?" When speaking in the first person, the english polite for is to list the second person first, but isn't it the case that when you are speaking to the second person that you list that second person first and then the third? This may not be a rule in the traditional sense, but it there does seem to be a unofficial polite protocal here. Looking for a writing teacher.

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    Re: Polite Forms for Pronouns

    Is Matt also there, present, whilst you're asking this question?

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    Re: Polite Forms for Pronouns

    No, Matt is not present.

  1. rewboss's Avatar

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    Re: Polite Forms for Pronouns

    Yes, it's traditionally considered polite to put the second person first, then the third person, then the first.

    As for "What is ???? and Matt's schedule?", I think most native speakers give up on that one.

    If the other person is a third person, like Matt, the rule is clear -- you only put the possessive marker on the last item in that noun phrase: "Sue and Matt's".

    The trouble is that "your" isn't a noun with a possessive marker, it's a possessive pronoun, and pronouns are different animals altogether. And yet it is a possessive, so it sounds strange to say "your and Matt's", but it also sounds strange to say "you and Matt's", probably because you wouldn't say "you's schedule".

    On balance, though, I think most speakers might opt for "you and Matt's", as it sounds less wrong than the alternative. But many speakers might simply dodge the issue altogether:

    What's your schedule, you and Matt?
    What kind of a schedule do you and Matt have?
    What have you and Matt got lined up?

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