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A reader was impressed enough with the recursive possessive form "mine's" to send in a link to  Happy Monday Comics:

I don't recall having see this form before, but it seems normal to me, even though the author is not a native speaker of English.

The cell phone battery problem is one of the author's themes:


  1. Stan Carey said,

    March 4, 2016 @ 7:44 am

    I don't remember seeing it either, but I've used it.

    On a related note: Slang mines (= mine) is the object of regular word-rage, as shown by the Nixicon Twitter account or a Google search of "mines is not a word" or similar. Even Urban Dictionary's top definition is: "a word that dumbasses use to mean possession".

  2. John from Cincinnati said,

    March 4, 2016 @ 7:44 am

    And ours's, yours's, his's, hers's, its's, and theirs's ? As in, say, this blog is yours, that blog is theirs, yours's posts are better than theirs's.

  3. Rodger C said,

    March 4, 2016 @ 7:46 am

    Sounds fine to me, as meaning "the one belonging to mine." What I'm not sure of is "the songs … it."

  4. Sockatume said,

    March 4, 2016 @ 8:06 am

    "Mine's a Guinness" was an old advertising slogan. I don't know whether I retained it from the company's disappointingly-not-at-all-Willy-Wonka-esque "brewery tour"* or something else but buying drinks is certainly the context where I'd expect to see it.

    *It's actually a museum.

  5. RP said,

    March 4, 2016 @ 8:18 am

    In "Mine's a Guiness", "mine's" stands for "mine is", not "belonging to mine".

  6. William said,

    March 4, 2016 @ 8:45 am

    "Are we meeting at mine's or yours?" sounds fine to me, and has done for my fifty years in central-belt Scotland. Maybe odd in a posh accent though, and I'd never write it. Just my two groats' worth.

  7. Acilius said,

    March 4, 2016 @ 9:07 am

    I hadn't seen "Happy Monday Comics" before. I notice that the author identifies xyrself as "not a native speaker of English," and I don't have any reason to doubt that. Still, if I were writing a webcomic and wanted deliberately to insert exactly one legal but unusual syntactical structure into each strip, it might look very much like what xe has in fact done.

  8. Pflaumbaum said,

    March 4, 2016 @ 9:18 am

    I believe this is cited in CGEL, and is set alongside phrasal genitives like the man in front of me's suitcase. I think it's in the section on the 'genitive' /s/ but will check later.

  9. Jeremy said,

    March 4, 2016 @ 9:41 am

    The "songs…it" also suggests non-native-speaker-ness.

  10. Amy Stoller said,

    March 4, 2016 @ 10:00 am

    @Stan Carey: Re: "Slang mines (= mine) is the object of regular word-rage":

    Here in the US "mines" is a perfectly good word in African American Vernacular English. So I bristle at seeing it described as slang. Is it indeed slang elsewhere?

  11. DCBob said,

    March 4, 2016 @ 10:28 am

    Ditto Amy Stoller — standard AAVE.

    I heard a nice construction yesterday I'd never heard before: "It could be so but it might don't be."

  12. Brian said,

    March 4, 2016 @ 11:27 am

    I know this is irrational, but it bugs me that the title of the 2nd comic isn't "The Brief Grief".

  13. Ellen K. said,

    March 4, 2016 @ 11:53 am

    Brian, the "The Brief Grief" would be too ambiguous. It could mean grief about a brief.

  14. January First-of-May said,

    March 4, 2016 @ 11:57 am

    Grammatical or not, is there any *other* way to say it? I also think "mine's" is weird, but I'd probably say the example in the comic identically.

    [Incidentally, mine's battery lasts for a whole week. (It's a Nokia 1112.) They don't make them like that anymore…]

  15. January First-of-May said,

    March 4, 2016 @ 11:58 am

    (To clarify somewhat – I'm not a native speaker of English either.)

  16. Terry Hunt said,

    March 4, 2016 @ 11:59 am

    As an additional anecdatum, this 59-y-o native BrE speaker finds the possessive construction in question entirely unremarkable.

  17. ethar said,

    March 4, 2016 @ 12:47 pm

    I agree with Rodger C: this doesn't seem to be a duplicative possessive meant to mean "my battery", but rather "The battery of mine [my cell phone]" with a genitive "s": "Mine's [My cell phone's] battery".

  18. Florence Artur said,

    March 4, 2016 @ 1:05 pm

    Not a native speaker either, I don't see anything wrong with mine's, but I wouldn't like yours's at all. And the man in front of me's suitcase? Yuck.

  19. David Morris said,

    March 4, 2016 @ 1:20 pm

    My English-as-a-second-language-speaking wife sometimes says things like 'yours and mine's wedding anniversary'.

  20. Stan Carey said,

    March 4, 2016 @ 1:54 pm

    @Amy: I don't consider slang an inferior form of language, but it was a poor choice of word to refer to dialectal mines.

  21. J. W. Brewer said,

    March 4, 2016 @ 2:42 pm

    I would think of this usage of "mine's" as less "slang" than "informal," and to my ear not particularly odd-sounding for speakers of standard AmEng in an informal context. Because dialect and register often interact in complicated ways, and many AAVE speakers fluently code-switch into more or less standard AmEng (give or take some distinctive phonology) when they are speaking in a high-register context, it can get a bit tricky to talk about what the formal register of AAVE-as-such really is. So I'm not entirely sure what the claim about "mine's" being standard in AAVE conveys here. Is it a claim that AAVE speakers will commonly use it in contexts sufficiently high-register that speakers of many/most/all other varieties of AmEng would not use it in such a context, or a claim that AAVE speakers use it more commonly than speakers of other varieties do even when both groups are speaking in an informal register, or something else? Either of the first two possibilities, at least, would be interesting, but I'm really just trying to understand what's being claimed.

  22. maidhc said,

    March 4, 2016 @ 5:24 pm

    It sounds perfectly normal to me in informal speech. In a formal written context I would prefer to see the concept expressed some other way, but more because it's a bit awkward than because it's incorrect.

  23. AntC said,

    March 4, 2016 @ 8:13 pm

    @maidhc I agree.

    If mine's is too informal, what's the formal version supposed to be? (That is, without rephrasing.)

    mine battery sounds hopelessly archaic. my battery fails to follow the pattern of the previous speaker – and is likely to be ambiguous given the number of devices and batteries we carry these days.

  24. AntC said,

    March 4, 2016 @ 8:34 pm

    @Stan Carey, actually that word-rage is against mines without an apostrophe.

    The comic does show an apostrophe, although it's rather small and low – compare I'm in the first frame and don't in the second.

    So on second thoughts, I think mine's is fine, a little colloquial.

  25. DaveM said,

    March 4, 2016 @ 10:27 pm


    What's your cousin's favorite bottle of stout? Mine's's a Guinness.

  26. AntC said,

    March 4, 2016 @ 10:59 pm

    … mine's's a Mackeson's https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mackeson_Stout

    Does Mackeson have a cousin?

  27. Stan Carey said,

    March 5, 2016 @ 7:31 am

    @AntC: I know. That's why I spelt it without an apostrophe. Actually.

  28. Guy said,

    March 5, 2016 @ 3:32 pm


    "My phone's battery" would be the most obvious other way to say it, but I don't think there's anything wrong with "mine's battery". I suspect it's unusual just because the situations where it would be called for are somewhat unusual – we need a situation that justifies "mine" for "my X" but not "mine" for "my X's Y" ("your phone's battery lasts an hour but mine lasts all day" seems fine, at least to me, though "mine's" seems also okay.) – not because there's anything wrong with it grammatically. Most English speakers seem to find it fully acceptable.

  29. Rebecca said,

    March 5, 2016 @ 4:52 pm

    To me, it seems totally ok. Certainly is common to see things like "mine's name is..,,"

  30. Chas Belov said,

    March 5, 2016 @ 11:43 pm

    "Your phone's battery lasts an hour but mine lasts all day," sounds worse to me than any of the following::
    "Your phone's battery lasts an hour but mine's lasts all day."
    "Your phone's battery lasts an hour but my phone's lasts all day."
    "Your battery lasts an hour by mine lasts all day."

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