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Thread: Gerund

  1. #1
    Alena H. is offline Newbie
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    Unhappy Gerund

    Hello!Can anybody please help me as I'm completely confused!!!
    I HATE THEM TALKING LIKE THIS
    or
    I HATE THEIR TALKING LIKKE THIS?

  2. #2
    2006 is offline Banned
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    Default Re: Gerund

    Quote Originally Posted by Alena H. View Post
    Welcome!
    Hello!Can anybody please help me as I'm completely confused!!!
    I HATE THEM TALKING LIKE THIS.
    or
    I HATE THEIR TALKING LIKKE THIS.
    The rule is that a gerund has to be preceded by a possessive noun or pronoun.
    The explanation is that you don't hate 'them......"; you hate their talking.....

    "I hate them talking like this." could be interpreted as 'I hate them for talking like this.' At least, you might use this as a way to remember why the sentence with "them" is wrong.

    Many native speakers either don't know this rule or choose not to follow it.

  3. #3
    Raymott's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gerund

    Quote Originally Posted by Alena H. View Post
    Hello!Can anybody please help me as I'm completely confused!!!
    I HATE THEM TALKING LIKE THIS
    or
    I HATE THEIR TALKING LIKE THIS?
    Don't be too concerned. Even we natives get it wrong half the time.

  4. #4
    Raymott's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gerund

    Quote Originally Posted by 2006 View Post
    Many native speakers either don't know this rule or choose not to follow it.
    Either that, or they use a different grammar book than you do.
    Eg. Quirk* gives this example (p: 1065)

    They liked our singing.
    (They liked our ‘mode’ (manner) of singing, the way we sang.) This has a nominal (noun) quality.
    They liked us singing. (They liked the fact that we were singing – the ‘act’of singing.) This has a more verbal quality.

    Quirk writes: "Traditionally this mixture of nominal and verbal characteristics in the -ing form has been given the name 'gerund'." (1291). The form that takes a genitive has a more nominal quality.

    This allows the following example (mine) of a conversation in correct English between two women about B’s husband:
    A: Do you like his singing?
    B: No, his singing is awful. He can’t hold a tune at all.
    A: Do you like him singing?
    B: I don’t mind him singing in the bathroom, but I draw the line at him singing in front of guests.
    A: So you don’t like his singing, but you don’t mind him singing in the bathroom?
    B: That’s right.

    By this reckoning (and I agree with Quirk), the correct sentence for Alena is:
    I hate them talking like this.

    * Quirk, R. et al. A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language. Longman: Harlow, 1985.

  5. #5
    MASM's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gerund

    I also consulted Mr. Swan's book and he says:

    "In informal style it is more common to use object forms (like, me, John) instead of possessives (my, John's) with -ing forms, especially when these come after a verb or preposition"

    Do you mind me smoking? Excuse me ringing up so late.

    After some verbs (see, hear, watch, feel) possessives are not normally used with -ing forms.

    I saw him getting out of the car. (NOT I saw his getting out of the car)

    xxx

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    2006 is offline Banned
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    Default Re: Gerund

    Quote Originally Posted by MASM View Post
    I also consulted Mr. Swan's book and he says:

    "In informal style it is more common to use object forms (like, me, John) instead of possessives (my, John's) with -ing forms, especially when these come after a verb or preposition"

    Do you mind me smoking? Excuse me ringing up so late.

    After some verbs (see, hear, watch, feel) possessives are not normally used with -ing forms. Yes, the preceding verb can make a difference. "hate" and "see" are quite different verbs in this context.

    I saw him (as he was getting) out of the car. (NOT I saw his getting out of the car)

    xxx
    2006

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