"Sie haben zwei gemeinsame Kinder."
This comment isn't directed solely at you Soglio as it appears you know enough not to say "y'all", but to any passers by that read it....
Ignore the "you all" and especially the "y'all". Unless you're from the southern U.S. with a thick accent, or you're a hip-hopping rapper that speaks so called "ebonics", you would get funny looks for using "y'all". I've never said "you all" unless what I meant was "Every one of you...". As in "You ALL have to do the assignment by Friday, no exceptions." - "Every one of you has to do the assignment by Friday, no exceptions." My hypothesis for Duo's "you all" in the drop down hints is to simply indicate that the "you" is plural. As in second person plural (German = ihr, French = vous). In the sentence "You all have two children together" I would interpret that as the speaker is talking to a large group of couples, and each couple has two children. A very obscure, and poorly formed sentence. As for "you all" meaning more than two people, I'd go along with that. In my example sentence I would say "You BOTH have to do the assignment by Friday, no exceptions" if there were only two people.
I hope that answers any questions anyone has about "you all" and "y'all". Y'all come back now y'hear.
Sorry, I didn't mean to confuse anyone about "y'all." You're right, it is emphatically NOT standard English. I'd call it a regional idiom; others would say it's incorrect; the difference is philosophical. In any case, one would usually not use it in outside its region or in formal written English.
No, it's what one would say about a couple who both have children from previous relationships. "And they have two children in common". If you used "together", it would likely be "they have had two children together", probably because "they have two children together" is a little ambiguous."
Come to think of it, you could use "they have two children together" in other ways: "What's all the noise?" "They have two children together out there."
Interesting. If you were talking about a divorced couple who had children, I'd say "They had two children together" or, better, "they have two children together" (present tense preferred, because they do still have them.
If you were talking about a couple who have children from previous marriages, and felt it necessary to make that point, I think the most likely expression is "they both have children from previous marriages."
"They have two children in common" sounds off to me, but maybe it's a regional difference. In any case, I'm not sure which children you'd be designating--those from the respective previous marriages, or the two that they conceived together.
(And somewhere along the line, Miss Manners is going to say, "it's really nobody's business." ;-)
Similarly, I think I'd be more likely to say "They have two kids out there," without the "together."
But we might be talking about regional differences.
Well, I'm a New Englander, and I see you're in San Diego. But... I also grew up with my head in a book, in an academic family, in an academic town, with four colleges and a university within cycling distance. As a kid, I used to get accused of using big words and fancy language, so since then, I more-or-less deliberately make my speech fairly casual.
Only thing is, that's window dressing. At heart... well, some of my best friends are copy-editors.
I'd better warn people -- at core, my English is on the formal side.
(It's not giving me a reply button, so this is a reply to your reply)
Sorry, got your profile confused with someone else's. Did you grow up in Pennsylvania? I grew up in Western Massachusetts.
It's now my suspicion, based on this conversation and a few others, that I'm willing to take some fairly stiff formal older constructions as normal speech. Which isn't going to do the non-English speakers much good; they don't want to sound like E. Nesbit.
I don't know whether it's a question of formality, but it occurs to me that the idea of "in common" might be a little different and a little less impersonal in New England, where the idea of "the [town/bvillage] common" is more common and may convey a slightly different sense.
in any case, are you suggesting that if that the children that a couple has from previous marriages--that is, with a different mother and a different father, respectively--are now children that this couple has "in common"?
I've never heard the expression used this way; and to me, it carries uncomfortable connotations of "the tragedy of the commons," but if some cultural/regional difference overrides those connotations, it could makes sense.
No, the children they have in common are the children of the current marriage.
And you might be right about New England commons -- this is also the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. OTOH, I just remembered to ask google. Google finds 1,680,000 instances of "have two children together" and 139,000 of "two children in common". The first few pages of the "together" version are all casual -- though often about break-ups. The first few pages of "in common" are ALL legal, police, or casework.
Wow. I really had better be careful what phrases I recommend. Listen to Patricia, and talk like a police blotter. Or an estate attorney.
Btw, are you aware that "the tragedy of the commons" is now considered an outdated theory? Seems that historically commons work quite well -- for generations -- until the economic model changes. As long as there's a strong community reason to police them and enforce fairness, they work.
Interesting. It's not the meaning I would have inferred, but (following your example and exploring google) it does look as though "children in common" is a term used in reference to the children of a divorcing/divorced couple. To me, that context goes with that sense of distance (and perhaps the corresponding change in the economic structure, as you imply). Again, it's not a phrase I recall ever hearing, but it does make sense.
You could have pair who had two children together in a marriage that then broke up. Then, you could say 'they have two children together' to describe the current status or 'they had two children together' to describe the background for the present status. Whether the same would be true in German, I am not sure.