Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between My and Mine

english-dictionary-pdMy vs Mine

Both words have the same root ‘me’. ‘My’ is usually not used without a second component, i.e. the name of that something which belongs to me. ‘Mine’ can be used without referring to that item, i.e. it is self-sufficient. It is one of those rare, confusing English-word-pairs where the old-age word seems to be more efficient than the contemporary word. Example: ‘This article is my article’, versus ‘This article is mine’. Thus, ironically, the old-age Victorian extended version is actually more efficient, and requires one less word to say the same thing.

Let us go through a few more examples to bring out the differences: ‘This house is mine, and everything here is my property’ – this could also be written as: ‘This is my house, and everything here is mine’. The above two differently-phrased sentences bring about the differences very clearly. ‘My’ is not as wholesome as ‘mine’.

Mine also refers to a natural resources stockpile. Hence, for the purpose of clarity, it would be better to say: ‘This is my mine’, compared to: ‘This mine is mine’. No one can clearly understand the dynamics and forces which caused English to evolve in such a versatile yet confusing way, yet everyone clearly understands the differences once they accomplish some expertise in the language. This is quite strange, but it’s simply our common sense combined with past experiences of correct English usage which force us to choose the right word usage involuntarily.

Mine is also used more in advertising headlines, and for other more contemporary and casual references, for example: ‘What’s mine is ours, what’s ours is yours’, would be a good advertising line to talk to consumers in a friendly tone. ‘My’ would be insufficient for this purpose, as it would always require a term to be put after it, thus taking away all the charm and wit from the line. Another worthwhile difference to note, would be that ‘my’ is more human and ‘mine’ is more artificial, i.e. ‘“ one would always say: ‘This is my father’, as opposed to: ‘This father is mine’. Similarly: ‘This is my iPod’ can also be written as: ‘This iPod is mine’. However, if someone asks you the question: ‘Whose iPod is this?’, you are more likely to reply: ‘Mine’ than say: “That is my iPod’. A few more examples – ‘What was mine will remain mine until it is my decision to make it otherwise’, ‘My father works in a mine’, ‘My ideas are mine and mine alone’.

Summary:

1) Mine is more self-sufficient than my.

2) ‘My’ requires a another word after it to make the picture clear.

3) My is used to mostly refer to humans, while mine is used for things.

4) Mine also means coal mine, gold mine, etc.

5) Mine maybe old-age English, but it performs surprisingly better than the shorter ‘my’.

6) Ironically, mine is also more contemporary, casual and cool compared to using my along with an additional word in popular culture.

7) The reason why ‘mine’ is considered old-age is because it is the cousin of ‘thine’, which was the Victorian English word for ‘yours’. Thus, people use ‘yours truly’ and not ‘thine truly’ nowadays.


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3 Comments

  1. Also, ‘mine’ is a possessive pronoun (replacing the noun) and ‘my’ is a possessive adjective (modifying the noun, indicating ownership). ‘Mine’ replaces the noun and ‘my’ modifies it, that is why ‘mine’ is more efficient. Nice article ^_^

  2. But you can say, “This is my article.” Equal efficiency. Good bye fine sir.

  3. Actually, in Early Modern English (Shakespearean, Victorian), “my” and “mine” were used interchangeably; “mine” came before a word that started with a vowel and at the end of a sentence, and “my” was used before a word that started with a consonant. “Mine” was also used like it is today, as sort of a quasi-noun, as described in this article.
    The same thing goes for “thy” and “thine”

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