Can I say "This your pen is beautiful"?

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I knew sentences like "Is this your pen?", "This pen is yours", "Your pen is beautiful", but I don't see sentences like "This your pen is beautiful". Can I say that?

Yuuichi Tam

Posted 2018-07-15T05:02:59.533

Reputation: 2 263

Fun fact: An analogous construction sometimes does work in German (and probably some other languages as well). Former Chancellor Kohl habitually said "in diesem unserem Lande", "in this our country". – Torsten Schoeneberg – 2018-07-16T05:14:54.347

Answers

22

It's not correct English as you intend it.

"This" and "Your" are determiners, and specifically referring determiners. And you only use one referring determiner at a time.

This pen
My pen
the pen

But not

This my pen
My the pen
The this pen

This can also be a pronoun, meaning "this thing". It could be used as :

This, your pen, is beautiful.

to mean "This thing is beautiful (this thing is your pen)"

The use of "this" or "yours" as pronouns, not determiners allows: "Is this your pen" (understood as "is this thing your pen") and "This pen is yours" (understood as "This pen is your thing")

Instead, maybe you could say: "This pen of yours is beautiful".

James K

Posted 2018-07-15T05:02:59.533

Reputation: 80 781

17Side note for the OP: maybe you could say instead: "This pen of yours is beautiful". – M-elman – 2018-07-15T08:56:06.453

3I've adopted that suggestion – James K – 2018-07-15T09:00:37.910

Why can't we say "The pen of yours is beautiful", at least not if we don't qualify it further, The pen of yours that you bought at the bazaar is beautiful. – Tᴚoɯɐuo – 2018-07-15T10:43:25.777

2@Tᴚoɯɐuo, you can certainly say That pen of yours is beautiful. I, myself, have often used that turn of phrase in one form or another. – Greenonline – 2018-07-15T11:42:15.007

@Greenonline: But I did not ask about "that" I asked about "the". – Tᴚoɯɐuo – 2018-07-15T11:46:32.430

@Tᴚoɯɐuo - My comment implies that one does not say "The pen of yours..." but rather "That pen of yours..." – Greenonline – 2018-07-15T11:49:00.250

2I'm not sure it's flat-out incorrect usage, but rather archaic; the usage is seen quite often in Early Modern English. – chrylis -cautiouslyoptimistic- – 2018-07-15T17:57:52.240

2@Tᴚoɯɐuo: You cannot usually say "The pen of yours is beautiful" because "the" means an object whose identity is already established or implied by context, but you're trying to qualify it with the "of yours" prepositional phrase. If we know which pen we're talking about, then the qualification is unnecessary, and if we don't, then the "the" is wrong. – Kevin – 2018-07-15T18:14:27.620

2@chrylis: Could you provide a few attestations of "the {noun} of yours" from Early Modern English? – Tᴚoɯɐuo – 2018-07-15T18:46:53.233

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@Tᴚoɯɐuo Offhand, an example preserved in the NKJV, seen frequently using the demonstrative pronoun, and also commonly "we/us your [humble] servants" and similar.

– chrylis -cautiouslyoptimistic- – 2018-07-16T02:06:01.373

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To elaborate on the good answer already, in English there is no need to give a determiner or pronoun ("This") as well as a noun or noun phrase itself ("your pen"). It isn't usual, and doesn't normally add anything; it sounds like what it usually is - an attempt to use grammar from a different language, and foreign to English.

Instead you would either say "This/That is beautiful" if it's clear what you refer to, or "Your pen is beautiful" if it is not clear, or you want to be sure they understand the specific object you mean.

The one time you might use both is exactly the example given in a previous answer. This is not often used, but would be used when you wished to really emphasise something, much more than usual. For example, if you visited a friend's town or family for the first time and you were completely overwhelmed by the beautiful countryside, or the wonderful family, or maybe if you were writing: This - your countryside - is beautiful!.

If the sentence avoids using both a determiner (or pronoun) and a noun (or noun phrase) for the same object, the awkward wording is not a problem. So alternatives like these are closer to ordinary use as well:

  • "That pen, the one you showed me, is beautiful", or "That - the pen you sold - is beautiful". In these examples, the second part clarifies which exact object or pen "That (pen)" is referring to.

  • "This, your signature, shows you agreed to the contract" - here it's also clarifying the object referred to by "This". It also slightly emphasises the object as the focus of your sentence: "This, meaning your signature, ....."

Stilez

Posted 2018-07-15T05:02:59.533

Reputation: 245

1Your terminology is unconventional and confusing. This can be a pronoun, but is not when it introduces a noun phrase. And few linguists would refer to "your pen" as a noun - rather, a noun phrase. Other than that, I don't disagree with your answer, but I think James W said it much more clearly. – Colin Fine – 2018-07-15T11:34:09.747

Corrected noun phrase. What part of speech is it? I was taught that a referent to a noun (phrase) would be a pronoun...? I felt James' answer gave a technical answer but perhaps omitted the everyday sense of it (that it can be used to clarify or emphasise, for example, or may be more common in written works), and this would perhaps be helpful to the OP. – Stilez – 2018-07-15T11:37:29.160

"Part of speech" is traditionally a property of words, not of phrases. And many words can function as more than one part of speech. When "this" stands for a noun phrase, it is indeed a pronoun (eg This is your pen). When it is part of a noun phrase, specifying it (as in this pen, or the deviant this your pen that the question was about), modern grammatical theories usually call it a determiner. There wasn't a satisfactory category for it in traditional grammar. – Colin Fine – 2018-07-15T12:02:28.690

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"This, your pen, is beutiful." is perfectly normal, and "This your pen is beautiful." is not. I'm surprised to see that so subtle a change can make such a big difference, but there it is.

Michael Hardy

Posted 2018-07-15T05:02:59.533

Reputation: 121