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A grammatical question for which I should know the answer.
Posted by: wurm
Date: January 25, 2023 08:57AM
Poll
Which of these do you prefer?
Only registered users are allowed to vote for this poll.
24 votes were received.
John Smith and Mary Brown autographs 5
 
21%
John Smith's and Mary Brown's autographs 19
 
79%



And it may be that there's no right or wrong answer, but rather a matter of preference.

If you were going to list a couple of autographs you have, which way would you state it?
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Re: A grammatical question for which I should know the answer.
Posted by: TheTominator
Date: January 25, 2023 09:02AM
But I would probably avoid the issue and write "autographs of John Smith and Mary Brown".
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Re: A grammatical question for which I should know the answer.
Posted by: NewtonMP2100
Date: January 25, 2023 09:10AM
.....just texted gramma......waiting for her response.....



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Re: A grammatical question for which I should know the answer.
Posted by: mspace
Date: January 25, 2023 09:16AM
My professional copy-editor partner says he'd have to research that. Stating - it would depend on whether the autographs were both on one document, or on two separate documents, to start . . .
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Re: A grammatical question for which I should know the answer.
Posted by: gadje
Date: January 25, 2023 09:23AM
[hemingwayapp.com]

does not flag any errors and says the first one is grade level 6, the second one is glade level 7
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Re: A grammatical question for which I should know the answer.
Posted by: anonymouse1
Date: January 25, 2023 09:30AM
I agree with mspace's partner.

Quote
mspace
My professional copy-editor partner says he'd have to research that. Stating - it would depend on whether the autographs were both on one document, or on two separate documents, to start . . .
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Re: A grammatical question for which I should know the answer.
Posted by: wurm
Date: January 25, 2023 09:34AM
Thanks for the comments. Two separate autographs.
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Re: A grammatical question for which I should know the answer.
Posted by: N-OS X-tasy!
Date: January 25, 2023 09:35AM
I believe the answer is “John Smith and Mary Brown’s autographs…”



It is what it is.
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Re: A grammatical question for which I should know the answer.
Posted by: wurm
Date: January 25, 2023 09:36AM
Quote
gadje
[hemingwayapp.com]

does not flag any errors and says the first one is grade level 6, the second one is glade level 7

Interesting. And that's a neat website. Thanks.
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Re: A grammatical question for which I should know the answer.
Posted by: chopper
Date: January 25, 2023 09:45AM
See above.
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Re: A grammatical question for which I should know the answer.
Posted by: mspace
Date: January 25, 2023 09:51AM
Researched.

Since the signatures are "owned" by the two separate people, the names WITH apostrophes are correct.

If it was a joint ownership of a thing, then it would still have to be " John Smith and Mary Brown's restaurant" with the apostrophe on the one name.
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Re: A grammatical question for which I should know the answer.
Posted by: ztirffritz
Date: January 25, 2023 09:59AM
need context, but both seem awkward to me. I'd rephrase the statement to end:
"...the autographs of John Smith and Mary Brown."



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Re: A grammatical question for which I should know the answer.
Posted by: mikebw
Date: January 25, 2023 10:24AM
Quote
N-OS X-tasy!
I believe the answer is “John Smith and Mary Brown’s autographs…”

That was my initial thought as well.
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Re: A grammatical question for which I should know the answer.
Posted by: wurm
Date: January 25, 2023 10:25AM
Thanks. Yes, two distinctly different people, not associated with one another, and each with significant notoriety.

I was struggling with it a little because if there were only one and if you were to add the article "a" before it, you could say "I have a John Smith autograph" or "I have John Smith's autograph.'
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Re: A grammatical question for which I should know the answer.
Posted by: RAMd®d
Date: January 25, 2023 10:31AM
significant notoriety.


Bonnie and Clyde types?






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Re: A grammatical question for which I should know the answer.
Posted by: Don C
Date: January 25, 2023 10:51AM
Since they are separate individuals and documents it would be more clear if they were separate listings. As is, it could be easily interpreted as one document with both signatures.
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Re: A grammatical question for which I should know the answer.
Posted by: wurm
Date: January 25, 2023 11:05AM
Quote
RAMd®d
significant notoriety.


Bonnie and Clyde types?

Oops. My bad. No, both positive (though I'm sure one could uncover some dirt).
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Re: A grammatical question for which I should know the answer.
Posted by: cbelt3
Date: January 25, 2023 12:38PM
As assets, the autograph is not owned by the signer, but by the holder.

I own documents autographed by John Smith and Mary Jones.

Or...
I have a bible autographed by Jesus Christ, and a set of tablets autographed by God.
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Re: A grammatical question for which I should know the answer.
Posted by: mikebw
Date: January 25, 2023 01:44PM
Quote
cbelt3
I own documents autographed by John Smith and Mary Jones.

Since we now know that these are separate documents I suggest the following addition of a comma:

I own documents autographed by John Smith, and Mary Jones.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/25/2023 01:45PM by mikebw.
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Re: A grammatical question for which I should know the answer.
Posted by: Tiangou
Date: January 25, 2023 05:00PM
The rule of thumb is to go with the clearest resolution, even if it seems more awkward to write it out.

"John Smith and Mary Brown autographs" doesn't work because it doesn't clearly state what you're looking at. It could be the John Smith and Mary Brown autograph-store.

"John Smith and Mary Brown's autograph" doesn't work because it could be Mr. John Smith standing next to a piece of paper with Ms. Brown's siggy.

So, "John Smith's and Mary Brown's autographs" would be the way I'd go.



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Re: A grammatical question for which I should know the answer.
Posted by: August West
Date: January 25, 2023 06:42PM
Quote
mikebw
Quote
N-OS X-tasy!
I believe the answer is “John Smith and Mary Brown’s autographs…”

That was my initial thought as well.

+1, however, I'm a descriptive grammarian.



“Every great and deep difficulty bears in itself its own solution. It forces us to change our thinking in order to find it."

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Re: A grammatical question for which I should know the answer.
Posted by: Janit
Date: January 26, 2023 07:06AM
I would want to know the context within which you are using the description of the autographs.

Give me the paragraph containing the description of the autographs and from that I would offer an opinion on how to convey your intent with the most clarity and readability.

Rephrasing can be your friend.
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Re: A grammatical question for which I should know the answer.
Posted by: wurm
Date: January 26, 2023 07:44AM
Quote
Janit
I would want to know the context within which you are using the description of the autographs.

Give me the paragraph containing the description of the autographs and from that I would offer an opinion on how to convey your intent with the most clarity and readability.

Rephrasing can be your friend.

That's kind of the problem. I don't really have liberty to rephrase the sentence. Otherwise, I would have probably opted for the "autographs of _____ and _____". It was originally written without the apostrophes, but looked odd to me. It's not that big a deal. I'm mostly curious.

If it matters, both autographs are of deceased, well known people.
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Re: A grammatical question for which I should know the answer.
Posted by: Acer
Date: January 26, 2023 09:22AM
Quote
Tiangou
The rule of thumb is to go with the clearest resolution

This. "Grammar was made for man, not man for grammar." If you have to dig through the Blue Book of Grammar to decode whose autographs we're talking about, you're doing it wrong. In this spirit, I will continue to split my infinitives and oxford my commas as I see fit.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/26/2023 09:24AM by Acer.
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